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Aleta Dey

Beynon, Francis Marion

17 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0140152598 / ISBN 13: 9780140152593
Published by Penguin Books, New York, N.Y., 1991
Condition: Very good(+) Soft cover
From Owl & Company Bookshop (Calvello Books) (Oakland, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Small octavo in dark green (spine) illus paper wraps; 255 p., 20 cm. Virago Modern Classics. Very good(+) copy. Light wear to edges and corners; light shelf rubbing; else very nice copy; pages are bright and free of marks; binding is tight. Bookseller Inventory # 83436

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Aleta Dey

Publisher: Penguin Books, New York, N.Y.

Publication Date: 1991

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:Very good(+)

Edition: First printing.

About this title


Francis Marion Beynon’s autobiographical novel Aleta Dey is increasingly recognised as a small classic of early twentieth-century fiction. Beynon was a journalist and feminist much involved in public affairs in early twentieth-century Manitoba. In 1917, aged 33, she was forced to leave her job as a result of her open pacifism, and she soon moved to New York where she dropped out of the public eye. Aleta Dey, first published in 1919, tells in plain and affecting prose the story of a girl growing up in Manitoba, becoming politically conscious, and falling in love with McNair, a man of much more conventional views. The First World War brings a crisis for them both after McNair enlists as a soldier.

Though Beynon was a Canadian, her spare, emotionally open prose may have less in common with that of other Canadian writers of the time than it does with the style of contemporaneous western American women writers such as Willa Cather and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Like Cather’s My Antonia, Beynon’s Aleta Dey resonates with prairie simplicity, passion, and strength.

From Publishers Weekly:

Like the author of this autobiographical novel originally published in 1919, Aleta spurns the rigid conventionality of her rural Canadian upbringing to become a journalist, suffragist and pacifist in Winnipeg. As the Great War looms and Canadians become increasingly militaristic, she concludes that "the only conquering force in the world is love." Her faith is severely tested when she meets and becomes infatuated with McNair--a man who believes in patriotic soldiering and holds traditional views about women and men. Their intense emotions supported by mutual respect and by searching, intellectual conversations at her fireside, they do find common ground. But when McNair joins the army, Aleta redoubles her anti-war activities with a fervor that earns her imprisonment and eventually leads to tragedy. Despite a rather plain, serviceable prose style, Beynon effectively communicates her heroine's strong convictions, bravery and grace, and even lends her unlikely love affair a persuasive romanticism. Aleta's belief in war's essential immorality remains pertinent today, as does the example of a woman creating the life of her own choosing.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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