Upward, Allen (1863-1926) by Vaughn, Matthew

Allen Upward (1863-1926) Born of Welsh parentage in 1863, Upward left for Dublin in 1882 to study at the Royal University of Ireland; soon he was publishing anonymous prose and poetry in support of Irish Home Rule. Upward displayed a lifelong sympathy for nationalist movements and would later take similar stands on behalf of Wales and Greece (while serving as a barrister in Cardiff, he often defended Welsh labor leaders in court). also harbored political ambitions, although he was defeated when he stood for Parliament in Wales. A recurring column he wrote promoting his 1917 parliamentary campaign, called can be found in volume 22 of (nos. 1-21). Upward describes the column as his attempt to (: 17). Upward Producers by Brain, The New Age justify the claims of the artist, the writer and the thinker to direct representation in Parliament, not merely in their own interest but in the greater interest of the nation, which suffers in its intellectual and spiritual growth from the absorption of its politicians in material interests NA 22.1 Upward followed a path of continual movement and change, and his extensive travels provided a wealth of material for his literary endeavors. In 1897 he sought single-handedly to run the blockade of Crete set up by the League of Nations and was befriended afterwards by many high-ranking Greek officials. Upward would return to Greece again in 1908 to assist the Macedonians against Bulgarian aggression. His continued interest in Greek affairs is evident in a 1916 article he published in , titled in which he advises the Greeks to abandon futile political concerns and to focus on recapturing a passion for science and art which is their heritage (: 538). In 1901, Upward also travelled to Nigeria, to serve as proconsul. While there, he had the opportunity to observe native customs first-hand, and would later incorporate these observations into , a folkloric and anthropological work in the vein of ’s . Upward’s review of a new edition of in 1911 offers insight into his own anthropological thinking . The New Age The Choice of Hellas, NA 19.23 The Divine Mystery Frazer The Golden Bough The Golden Bough (NA 9.5 literary supplement: 1-2) Upward began writing for in 1909. The paper’s editor, , whom Upward had known since 1900, originally approached him to write something on the subject of and the . This resulted in a series of three articles in 1910, titled in which Upward outlined his philosophy of individual genius. He had long advocated the creation of a cooperative society of intellectuals, and with he had even participated in an abortive attempt to create such a group in the late 1890’s. Through Byng, Upward was first introduced to ’s translations of Chinese poetry and philosophy, which had a significant impact on Upward’s development as a poet. equates men of genius with the highest order of angels and proposes that (: 349). The New Age A. R. Orage Nietzsche Übermensch The Order of the Seraphim, L. Cranmer Byng James Legge The Order of the Seraphim the Seraphim, being wiser than mankind, ought not to wait for mankind, but to undertake first the organisation of themselves, and so free themselves from that old reproach to the Son of Man—’He saved others; himself he cannot save’ NA 6.15 Upward continued to contribute regularly to for the rest of ’s tenure as editor. His articles dealt with a wide range of topics including philosophy, religion, history, politics, and literature. Noteworthy columns include his series in 1910, which warns that the Young Turk revolt of 1908 was little more than the (: 27), a series of religious articles in 1917 that Upward wrote under the pseudonym and a three-part series on published in the winter of 1921-22. The New Age Orage Bankrupt Turkey revolt of Islam against Christendom NA 8.2 , Saint George The Nebular Origin of Life In 1913 a series of Upward’s poems, was published by in magazine (). was so impressed by this collection that he included nine of Upward’s poems in , the first anthology of the Imagist movement. When Upward’s work was later left out of ‘s in May 1915, he responded to this snub by sending the magazine a humorous autobiographical poem titled (which also published in its September issue that year). In the poem, Upward explains that: Scented Leaves—From a Chinese Jar, Harriet Monroe Poetry 2.6 Ezra Pound Des Imagistes The Egoist Special Imagist Number The Discarded Imagist Poetry Ezra Pound the generous rose up and called me an Imagist. (I had no idea what he meant.) And he included me in an anthology of Imagists. This was a very great honour. But I was left out of the next anthology. This was a very great shame. (: 318) Poetry 6.6 The poem is now mostly remembered because of a specific allusion Pound makes to it in the . Cantos Pound was also a great admirer of Upward’s prose work, specifically and , and he gave both of these books enthusiastic reviews. The influence of Upward’s philosophy on Pound’s thinking is evident in the latter’s review of , which appeared in the April 23rd, 1914 issue of . Pound praises the book’s and its recognition of the importance of the individual genius (: 779). The review also dwells at length on Upward’s career as a popular novelist. Pound laments the fact that Upward will never be as a philosophical writer, due to his success as a writer of light fiction. he says, The New Word The Divine Mystery The New Word The New Age clarity and hard writing NA 14.25 taken seriously If you refer to him as a thinker, they tell you he writes detective stories. Yet if ‘The New Word’ and ‘The Divine Mystery’ had been written by a civil servant or a clerk in a dry goods shop, or by a broken-down parson, they would have been acclaimed as great works. At several points during his career Upward was as he put it, but this is an unfair assessment of his interesting collection of fiction works, which includes spy novels, ghost stories, and scientific fiction. His book , for example, was highly praised for its originality in a letter that appeared in (: 119). In this supernatural novel, a German professor discovers a way to detect the shapes of the dead and communicate with them. According to Upward, an American doctor was so excited by the that he wrote to Upward asking for Professor Lücke’s original manuscripts, (: 56). Lord Alistair’s is a somewhat more serious allegorical novel that equates with Christ. Upward explains this association in a article from December 2, 1909: ( 106). For Upward, is an example of the unrecognized genius who is able to see beyond the kind of hypocritical religiosity that Christ so adamantly condemned. reduced, to grind romances, The Discovery of the Dead The New Age December 1, 1910; NA 8.5 discovery which he was anxious to publish NA 22.3 Rebellion the decadent New Age In the old sacred language, the decadent is the sin-bearer, the one man who is put to death for the sake of the people—in a word, the saviour. The sinner is the christ of the righteous, bearing his sicknesses and carrying his pains 6.5: Lord Alistair Like Lord Alistair, Allen Upward would remain a largely unrecognized genius, his philosophical works never receiving the recognition he had hoped for. Upward’s 1921 autobiography, , reflects his feelings of obscurity: he published the book under the pseudonym the number assigned to him as a child by the English school system. Upward committed suicide in 1926 at the age of sixty-three. In a letter to a friend written a decade later, Pound satirically attributed Upward’s suicide to his disappointment at losing the Nobel Prize to . Some Personalities 20/1631, George Bernard Shaw ―Matthew Vaughn Selected Works by Allen Upward . Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1915. The Divine Mystery: A Reading of the History of Christianity Down to the Time of Christ . New York: Kennerley, 1910. Lord Alistair’s Rebellion . New York: Kennerley, 1910. The New Word . Budleigh Salterton: Interim Press, 1987. Scented Leaves From a Chinese Jar . Boston: Cornhill, 1922. Some Personalities Works Cited and Suggestions for Additional Reading . 3. Spring (1974): 71-83. Knox, Bryant Allen Upward and Ezra Pound. Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 4. Spring (1975): 55-70. Moody, A. D. Pound’s Allen Upward. Paideuma . Vol. 36. Ed. . Detroit: Gale, 1985: 268-272. O’Toole, Mary A. Allen Upward. British Novelists, 1890-1929: Modernists Thomas F. Stanley . 17. Spring (1988): 59-68. Skinner, Paul Of Owls and Waterspouts. Paideuma

Back to top

Back to Top