Allen Upward

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George Allen Upward (20 September 1863[1] – 12 November 1926[2]) 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. He was a first cousin once removed of Edward Upward. His parents were George and Mary Upward, and he was survived by an elder sister (Mary) Edith Upward.[3]

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.

Upward later worked for the British Foreign Office in Kenya as a judge. Back in Britain, he defended Havelock Wilson and other labour leaders and ran for election as a Lib-Lab candidate, taking 659 votes in Merthyr at the 1895 general election.[4]

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 1910 novel "The Discovery of the Dead" is a collected fantasy (listed in Bleiler) dealing with the emerging science of Necrology.

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", however there was no delineation in this book of its definition by Upward. 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.


  1. ^ National School Admission Registers & Log-books 1870-1914
  2. ^ New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors
  3. ^ The Times (London, England), Friday, Nov 19, 1926; pg. 17
  4. ^ F. W. S. Craig, British Parliamentary Election Results, 1885-1918
  • 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).

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