George 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. He was a first cousin once removed of Edward Upward.
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).