John Alexander Lee

(916 words)
  • James Smithies (University of Canterbury)

P>John Albert Alexander was one of the most striking figures of twentieth century New Zealand. Swagman, socialist, war hero, orator, pamphleteer, Member of Parliament and author of several novels, he frequently found himself on the wrong side of a narrow and conformist culture and was both reviled and celebrated during his lifetime.

Although recent research by Annabelle Cooper suggests that Lee overstated his poverty stricken childhood, there can be little doubt that he was born into a struggling household; a situation worsened considerably through his grandmother’s problems with alcohol (perhaps understandably, Lee later refused to drink his entire adult life). After attending primary school, he worked in factories and on …

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Citation:
Smithies, James. "John Alexander Lee". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 August 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2670, accessed 02 September 2014.]