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A Passionate Pen
The Life and Times of Faith Fenton
by Jill Downie
- Language: english
- Release date: June 1, 1996
- ISBN: 9780002554053 (0002554054)
- Format: hardcover, 337 pages
- Author: Jill Downie
About The Book
She led a life of propriety, made even more so by the corseted Victorian age she inhabited. It was 1884 in Toronto and Alice Freeman was a seemingly ordinary, unmarried and genteel school teacher living with her brother. Until family archives were opened just recently, almost no one knew that she had led an astonishing secret double life: Alice Freeman was also ‘Faith Fenton, ‘ one of our first and most popular female columnists — and an early crusader for women’s rights.In recreating the life and times of a passionate, independent thinker, a ‘lady’ journalist well ahead of her time, biographer Jill Downie explores a society in the throes of social change. Faith Fenton was the first female journalist to visit and write about conditions in a woman’s penitentiary; she interviewed Susan B. Anthony and leaders of the Suffragist Movement; she went undercover to investigate the life of the poor and destitute; she was friends with Wilfrid Laurier and Sir John A. Macdonald; and at the height of the Gold Rush she trekked the notorious Teslin Trail to reach Dawson City.
What made her writing remarkable was her ability to connect with her audience: from homemakers to servants, from pioneer farming women to gentlemen. Faith’s skill was rooted in her ability to reassure her middle-class readers of the acceptability of challenging new ideas, while at the same time showing how much she respected and valued women’s often small domains.
A truly absorbing portrait of a woman who, even after her death, remained an enigma, A Passionate Pen is a biography that is both a romance and a mystery, rich in character and the texture of turn-of-the-century Canada.
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