Allen Upward (1863 – 12 November 1926) was a poet, lawyer, politician and teacher. His work was included in the first anthology of Imagist poetry, Des Imagistes, which was edited by Ezra Pound and published in 1914.
Upward was brought up as a member of the Plymouth Brethren and trained as a lawyer at the Royal University of Dublin (now University College Dublin). While living in Dublin, he wrote a pamphlet in favour of Irish Home Rule.
He wrote two books of poetry, Songs of Ziklag (1888) and Scented Leaves from a Chinese Jar. He also published a translation Sayings of Confucious and a volume of autobiography, Some Personalities (1921).
Upward wrote a number of now-forgotten novels: The Prince of Balkistan (1895), A Crown of Straw (1896), A Bride's Madness (1897), The Accused Princess (1900) (source: Duncan, p. xii), "''The International Spy: Being a Secret History of the Russo-Japanese War" (1905), and Athelstane Ford.
His 1913 book The Divine Mystery is an anthropological study of Christian mythology.
In 1908, Upward self-published a book (originally written in 1901) which he apparently thought would be Nobel Prize material: The New Word. This book is today known as the first citation of the word "Scientology", although it is used in the book in a disparaging way to describe "science elevated to unquestioning doctrine". It is unknown whether L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Scientology-organization, knew of this book.
In 1917 the British Museum refused to take Upwards' manuscripts, "on the grounds that the writer was still alive," and Upward burned them (source: Duncan, p. xi).
He shot himself in November 1926. Ezra Pound would a decade later satirically remark that this was due to his disappointment after hearing of George Bernard Shaw's Nobel Prize award which Shaw won in 1925.
- Sheldon, Michael. Introduction to Scented Leaves from a Chinese Jar, A Selection. (Interim Press, 1987).
- Robert Duncan. Introduction to The Divine Mystery. (Ross-Erikson, Santa Barbara, 1976).