Simplified after Kowalevsky, plate X represents the ontogeny in five stages from eggs to larvae, and plate XI the adults with the internal organization visible through the transparent skin. Joining the nationalist monument-building Belgum , pp. Haeckel deployed fresh empirical research and his own new argument that all true animals descended from a swimming stomach, or gastraea , to strengthen and expand his coverage of the ascidian—amphioxus theory Beeson , pp.
He mobilized these animals as secular icons and in a struggle for embryology between phylogeny and physiology that politicized species choice Hopwood , p. The liberal publicity machine announced the book with a review in the Illustrirte Zeitung Illustrated news that told progressives to study comparative embryology. Amphioxus and ascidian in the Illustrirte Zeitung. The magazine omitted cross-sections and a lamprey larva that Haeckel had added to present his more developed theory in the more specialized book. Zacharias a , p. Haeckel basked in adulation, but his polarizing rhetoric also provoked howls of opposition from scientists as well as philosophers and theologians.
A disciplinary enemy, the physiologist Emil du Bois-Reymond, had already attacked his overstepping of the bounds of natural knowledge Bayertz et al. Few Darwinists endorsed every detail of his pedigrees and many objected to his gastraea theory Nyhart , pp. Yet amphioxus had until now largely escaped specialist challenge.
Then they would see that ascidians and amphioxus merely continued the degeneration that the parasitic cyclostomes had begun. For spokesmen of science the bigger issue was the threat from his behaviour to their freedom in the new state. In early Semper publicly targeted Haeckelism for falling into the same credulous dogmatism that its author repudiated in the churches, and so risking the status that Darwinism had brought zoology, but he mentioned amphioxus only in a note Semper b , p.
As tempers frayed, humour, which had so far figured mostly in sarcasm between Haeckel and his critics, appeared as mediator. A commission from the Bern scientific society spurred the newspaper editor Moritz Reymond to write humorous verses on intellectual fashions such as the Kulturkampf and medical advice, and Haeckelism became his greatest theme. Reymond prepared Genesis , oder die Entwickelung des Menschengeschlechts Genesis, or the development of the human race for Christmas Shrinking the octavo lectures of the Anthropogenie chapter by chapter to a sexto-decimo of songs painlessly acquainted readers with the positive and negative sides of the original.
Reymond tackled the pedigrees at length, but left the hypothesis of amphioxus as ancestor unchallenged; the consensus was too strong and dissent not yet prominent enough. Two songs reviewed the discoveries that had revealed respectively the structure of amphioxus and ascidians and their embryology and thematized the German tradition of finding origins in and around the Mediterranean.
A series of encounters with Costa, Kowalevsky and Haeckel, the extent of whose hands-on research is exaggerated, prove fatal for the individual animals. Invoking Pallas fails to stop Costa testing his hunch Fig. But the species gain fame. The illustration by Fritz Steub, like the one in Fig. Reymond , p. Border There is space here only for a selection of verses in which Straubinger recounts what happened after the St.
Petersburg professor invited him out.
Alexander Kowalevsky and Brother Straubinger watching amphioxus mating in Naples. By Fritz Steub, from Reymond , p. Admirers and critics of Haeckel liked the rhymes Hopwood , pp. His biologist colleague Robert Ramsay Wright had paid this animal much attention when reviewing the Anthropogenie for the local scientific society, the Canadian Institute. Under the pseudonym Dr. Or fall below its high meridian 15 —. Chapman thus replaced the toast with a Romantic scene that perhaps foresaw endless revision to the pedigree.
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Meanwhile, the German controversy over Haeckel raged on. Following the second book of the breviary, the more critical Exodus , a new instalment containing books three to five, Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy , completed the Pentateuch in By Fritz Steub, from Reymond a , p. There should be no blood sacrifice, however. In real life he maintained to the end, for example, the place of ascidians in the human stem-tree. His pamphlet on freedom in science and learning slaughtered the traitors Abihu, that is the left-liberal pathologist Rudolf Virchow, who had opposed the teaching of evolution in the schools, and Nadab, alias Reymond a , pp.
Having subsided in the s, Darwinist debate revived in the following decade. New readers also discovered the Laienbrevier , including in the US Kellogg Osborn in Willey , p. Yet as research on amphioxus produced a huge volume of articles, books and models e. Accessible on various coasts, if hard to culture, it featured prominently in surveys Balfour , pp.
This look at the public life of amphioxus in its early years of fame has sought, on the one hand, to do more justice to its dominance than accounts that have dwelled on controversy over the ascidian theory and then the diverse challenges to what long remained the dominant view. It has contributed, on the other, to appreciation of the aesthetic dimensions of Darwinism and of species choice. Mai , —; on Darwinism in the periodical press: Kelly , Daum , pp. The article appeared without illustrations. Reymond b discussed, in part sympathetically, the antisemitism of Wilhelm Marr.
Breitenbach quoted in a flyer for Reymond Wolfe does not list this first edition, but Chapman , pp. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.
Hist Philos Life Sci. Published online Jan 8. Nick Hopwood. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Corresponding author. Received Aug 30; Accepted Sep 9. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author s and the source are credited. Abstract Biologists having rediscovered amphioxus, also known as the lancelet or Branchiostoma , it is time to reassess its place in early Darwinist debates over vertebrate origins.
Open in a separate window. Whatever he laid hands on. Anybody could say that! In a bottle of spirit. Vegetate on the seabed. Of this type of wormy thing. In cloacal folds secure. Denn sieh! Ein Wunder hatte da For see! Turned out to be vertebral! For three months of holiday. Ascidian and lance-let. Was ihm gemangelt bis anhin What till then he had been lacking In seiner Ahnenreihe, In his ancestral series, Das Bindeglied nach unten hin— The downwards link a-connecting— Das waren diese zweie! That was this pair of beasties! How from the worm we sprang forth! Let everyone toast your name! Der Professor wohlgeartet The professor, good-humouredly, Hat mich dort bereits erwartet, Was there and waiting already, Winkte mir und ruf: Waved and gave a shout: Passen Sie man uf— Hallo, mate, look out— Allsogleich wird der Schwindel losgehen!
The show is going to start any minute now! And, in thought immersed, let something fall into the water. And deposited various amphioxus eggs in the very same place.
But what did the scallop shell tell people about him? The scallop shell is the emblem of St James the Apostle whose shrine at Santiago de Compostela in Spain has been a place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages. Interestingly, some years later during excavations inside the medieval cathedral at Ardfert in Co Kerry, a similar discovery was made in a 15th century stone- lined grave. A skeleton was found buried with a scallop shell decoration, but this time it was a replica shell made of pewter, with a tiny gilded figure soldered onto it.
The male figure, wearing a long tunic and a broad-rimmed hat, was carrying a satchel and a tall staff. This is known, from historical accounts, to be the typical dress of a medieval pilgrim, making them easily identifiable along their journey. However, for fans travelling to away games overseas, things are not so simple. While ease of travel has improved greatly and flights are relatively cheap and easy to book, it can still be uncomfortable and stressful, with queues, delays and airport security.
For pilgrims travelling in the medieval period things could get very dangerous indeed. Not only did they have to contend with the possibility of stormy seas and shipwrecks, but also with outlaws who preyed on weary travellers, so much so that pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land in the 14th century had to have their own security. They were escorted to their destination by skilled, armed protectors in the form of the Knights Templar. For the more adventurous and dedicated pilgrim, such as the journeymen from Tuam and Ardfert, visiting the tomb of one of the apostles was an un-missable opportunity, a once in a lifetime chance to see something that meant so much to them.
The challenge of getting there was part of the process. The journey gave a sense of fulfilment and was a memorable part of the ritual, worthy of a souvenir. Similarly, trying for hours to get concert tickets online and eventually making it on time to the venue makes all the effort worthwhile. One of the most common reasons for pilgrimage was, and often still is, to see a relic or a holy place.
Travelling to the Shrine of St James was time consuming and very expensive. There were, however, pilgrimage routes much closer to home. About halfway through his career, we find him starting to articulate views on these subjects that are so charged and uncompromising that they border on the obsessive -- views which, as later chapters will elucidate, were formed from painful personal experience.
At first praised, and then reviled by critics right across the ideological spectrum from the radical feminists to the Social Purity league, this 'sex problem' novel nevertheless sites itself at the head of its particular genre. Later on, some years after its author's death, it is made into a film. It goes in and out of print over the next century, but there is a new centenary edition, and another fully-edited edition appears after that.
Somehow, on top of all this, Allen never loses sight of his 'serious' interests, which are enormously wide-ranging. At Allen's memorial service in October the positivist Frederic Harrison enumerated them: 'science, biology, physics, botany, mineralogy, metaphysics, history, palaeontology, archaeology, theology, philosophy, sociology, ethics, art, criticism'. Indeed, Harrison could readily have added to his list: biography Allen wrote three , classical studies, folklore, topography, geology, entomology, interior design and travel. About half of his total output -- that is, more than thirty books and many hundreds of articles -- testifies to these varied interests, and Allen's power to synthesize, generalize and find fruitful interconnections between them is remarkable.
All his life he insists that his real work lies in science and philosophy, and he wished especially to help extend the reach of Darwinian biology into sociology and ethics. Economic pressures, however, oblige him to write popular science, for which he soon displays a powerful talent. Some of his pieces of popular science, like 'The Bronze Axe' and 'Mud' are fine products of the temporal and geological imagination. Almost none has ever been reprinted. It is tempting to over-emphasize Allen's sheer versatility as a writer. To all alike he brings to bear the same professional efficiency and air of expertise.
However, such a blunt comparison, stressing the mere facility of Allen's pen, is demeaning and misleading. But Allen is not deterred, for he believes his book on religion, by exposing its folk-myth origins, will help to consign Christianity, and by implication all other revealed religions, to the scrap-heap; and for him that is a goal worth pursuing indeed.
This is what makes Allen an interesting study in the sociology of authorship. He straddles so many different areas in the literary culture of his day. We see him in multiple roles: as the constructor and marketer of popular fiction; the dedicated but unaffiliated scholar, pursuing his lonely course and reckless of his time and energy, as long as the work gets done; the feuilletonist whose latest chatty 'middle' for an evening paper is always mailed on time; the severely technical botanist with a thesis to expound on the evolution of flowering plants; the tosser-off of a long opinionated essay on London architecture or a profusion of other topics; and, most dramatic of all, the idealistic social reformer half-willing to immolate his own career for the sake of having his radical say.
Grant Allen suffers from ill-health for all of his life and is a semi-invalid for some of it. When he dies at the age of fifty-one, everything has been achieved in a career lasting only two decades. His obituarists, glancing down the truncated list of his books in Clodd, exclaim at this astonishing record. The amount of work which he turned out in his comparatively short life. An intriguing figure, then, Grant Allen: a fringe presence at many different sites of Victorian intellectual life.
How did this prodigy strike his fellows? In character he was, all agree, a convivial man with a pleasantly enthusiastic, confiding manner. He was a superlative teacher. To my astonishment he knew a good deal about painting and sculpture and architecture; he was certainly the best-informed all-round man I have ever had the good fortune to meet'. Because some of Allen's views on social questions were exceedingly controversial, many reviewers savaged his work with a ferocity remarkable even by the accepted standards of late Victorian criticism.
Yet he seems to have had few personal enemies. He was no less welcome in scientific circles, and he said once that he had the good fortune of being acquainted with every distinguished scientific personage in Britain. This did not prevent a few scientific men lambasting him for his amateurism. Gossip columnists reported his striking presence at many a public dinner.
With his 'silky silvery hair and beard, and the rather pronounced features so often associated with men of uncommon ability', a reporter scribbled on the occasion of some banquet, 'Mr Grant Allen is the type of the contemplative man of science -- the dreamer who is also an active thinker'. Though he was far from being a typical Englishman, Allen did like to maintain the familiar English pose of the cultivated amateur. People commented how few books he ever seemed to have about him. Yet his range of information was astonishing.
In Italian art, English history and prehistory, geology, and especially in botany, he was all but omniscient. He claimed, quite without boasting, that he could identify forty thousand plants by eye alone. At one point he toyed with the idea of setting up in business as a general office of all-purpose information, a sort of walking data bank; and his friends thought this was a reasonable ambition, for they used to chorus, when some questionable fact came up in conversation and no reference book was to hand, 'Let's look it up in Grant!
That done -- and he followed this regimen for some years -- the work of the day could start. Yet he always seemed to have plenty of free time. Anthony Trollope claimed that three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write. Allen did not go quite that far, but somehow he got through his stint by working only in the mornings.
They were long mornings, though, and he was capable of ferocious application at the typewriter, being one of first British writers to make full use of the machine. Frank Harris liked to say that Allen's typewriter disturbed no one, for it went in 'one long even click', as the 'super-journalist', as Harris called him, turned out yet another 'first-rate article on almost any subject from the growth of the idea of God to the habits of the caterpillar, at a moment's notice, and without perceptible exertion'. Interruptions made no difference. Le Gallienne noticed how, when the gong announcing lunch sounded, Allen would stop typing in the middle of a sentence; then, finding the meal was not quite ready, would return to his typewriter and finish that sentence and start another.
Many modern writers might reflect, however, that the most significant detail in that story is the sound of the luncheon gong. There are worse intrusions than being called too early to a meal whose preparation had been undertaken, like all the other domestic tasks of Allen's well-conducted household, by several resident servants who looked after a family of three.
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Of course there was a price to pay, and something of the personal toll this schedule imposed on him is suggested in this private comment to a friend: 'Even with the aid of my type-writer, I find it hard to get through all I have to do in the twenty-four hours. A man who would invent a day of forty-eight would be conferring a great benefit on suffering humanity. And yet, when one comes to think how tired one is at the end of the existing day, any addition to it would be rather terrible to contemplate'.
Allen made authorship pay well, though for him its rewards were painfully won. Once the day's tasks were over, Allen liked to be out of doors. Everyone who knew him agreed that he talked best on his feet, and that his gifts as a teacher of botany and geology and entomology revealed themselves best on a country walk. York Powell, who knew him for thirty years, said his afternoon walk was 'the crown and pinnacle of his day; the pleasure to look forward to and to look back on; every copse and hedgerow was a living museum to him, every roadside or field corner a botanical garden'.
His minute inspection of the natural scene was always scientific and his observations were always the raw material of generalizations. As Le Gallienne said of him, 'what an amazing talker he was! No pose-talk, but talk easily born of his knowledge and love of the subject that at the moment occupied him.
No more brilliant generaliser can ever have lived. Present him with the most unexpected fact, or the most complex set of circumstances as it might seem to you , and he had his theory in an instant, and was making it as clear, by the aid of his marvellously copious and exact vocabulary, as though he had drawn it on the air'. Some hint of the mental universe which he inhabited, a place where no fact, no statistic, no recollection, existed in isolation, can be caught from a stray comment he once made about a child's ideal education:.
A country walk will be richer in his eyes if he knows the birds and beasts, the flowers and insects. A Continental trip will be the richer in his eyes if he can delight his soul as much in a Mantegna or a Van der Weyden, in the spires of Cologne or the facade of the Certosa, as in the Boulevards and the Opera, the Rigi or the Matterhorn. Geology, history, poetry, make the world the fuller for him. Here rolled the Triassic sea: here brooded the ice plain: here Francesca paced the grey streets of Rimini. Every subject in which human thought can steep itself adds to the pleasure and the depth of life.
That is why it were well to make the basis of our education as wide, as real, and as varied as possible. Let us ground our boys and girls in realities, not words: in knowledge of life and the world they live in, not in irregular verbs and rules of syntax. All very well, one might retort, if the teachers were all of the calibre of Grant Allen.tashaurotpili.tk
Volume 1 January 15, « Henry George, The Standard
Dr George Bird told Clodd that, if he had had a son, he would gladly have paid Allen a thousand a year just to take the boy on a weekly rural walk. Another friend would have upped the pay to two thousand a year if Allen had been available to her for a daily stroll. From his essays and from all but his most pot-boiling novels, we can deduce a good deal about Grant Allen's temperament and attitudes.
He was an advanced radical of that familiar English stamp -- the radical with a powerfully puritan admixture, a man in the mould of Cobbett, Orwell and Lawrence. He wrote against big landlordism, private ownership of raw materials, prostitution, working women, nationalism, militarism, racism, vivisection, most aspects of imperialism and colonialism, the established Church, the House of Lords, sexual double standards and the environmental degradation of cities.
He was for fairly plain living and high thinking, a social philosophy he called Individualism, 'little England' and Home Rule, a country residence and early nights, the right to roam across landed estates, early mating but divorce on demand, maternal women and large families produced on positive eugenic principles. In social and political matters he can be relied on to side with the underdog, the oppressed and the exploited, though surely for ideological rather than empathetic reasons.
Nearly all his fiction charts the doings of the upper middle classes and above: despite his animadversions on the aristocracy, he knew his readership well enough to make sure that all his novels show how dearly they love a lord. His working-class figures are all stock characters. His views on racial differences are cringe-making, even offensive, today but unremarkable for his time and in some respects were in advance of it: even a severe critic might allow that his heart is usually in the right place.
In his youth he described himself as a Communist, and perhaps always thought of himself as one; but if so he managed to reconcile this with a little cautious personal speculation in building land. The Fabians' phrase 'the inevitability of gradualness' sums up his political position well enough, although he took no interest at all in party politics. He loved to tip a received opinion on its head and to assert a paradox: he would have said it was the Irishman in him.
Their landlady is a tall, gaunt, hard-faced woman. She is how, however, entirely unconvincing. Immediately after Allen's untimely death in October one of his oldest friends began to collect letters and reminiscences for a biography. The author was Edward Clodd and he was well qualified for the task.
When Allen returned to England and made his foray into journalism, he and Clodd soon became acquainted. So began an intimate friendship which lasted for the rest of Allen's life. The two men were similar in their interests, values and temperament. Clodd was quite a prolific and popular writer, his main interests being the history of evolutionary theory, folklore, mythology, and the origins of Christianity. He was a rich man, a banker, and, in the nicest sense, a scalp-hunter of intellectuals, writers and artists.
Tolerant, sympathetic, unenvious, genial and a generous host, Clodd made his Whitsuntide parties at his home at Aldeburgh in Suffolk into an institution. Almost all British and many foreign writers of any distinction accepted Clodd's invitations at one time or another. Unfortunately Grant Allen was not served well by his biographer-friend.
It is said that biographies should never be written with one eye on the widow. In this respect at least he gave satisfaction, for Nellie Allen was pleased with him for giving 'such a clear idea of my darling's beautiful personal character, and of the hard struggles that he had to bear'. Most of the published reviews were negative or luke-warm. Grant Allen which would have been of more than ephemeral interest', said one. Cotton had known Allen just as long as Clodd, and had worked alongside him during their early struggling years of journalism.
With the resources and the insider's information he had at his disposal, Cotton could have done a much better job of work than Clodd, and no doubt his awareness of this coloured his review. He felt 'utter disappointment' when he read it. He had made no attempt to set Allen into his social and intellectual context, or even to ascertain properly what he had written, and to organise it meaningfully:.
The writings are given in chronological order, which would be all very well for an author who kept to a definite pathway, and to whom dates were of consequence in order to establish his claims to originality. But Grant Allen did not keep to a definite pathway, but was philosopher, naturalist, physicist, historian, poet, novelist, essayist and critic. The efforts of a many-sided man like him ought not to have been given indiscriminately according to dates, but should have been tabulated according to subject-matter, and the tabulation should have been done in such a way as to show a definite purpose and a definite unfolding of a distinctive gospel.
There are far too many bland reminiscences solicited from old friends and copied out verbatim. Clodd made no attempt to use Allen's own writings to colour up his rather grey account, even though his subject was often frankly autobiographical and strongly opinionated in his fiction and non-fiction alike.
He accepted uncritically the most complimentary remarks on Allen's scientific work, popular and technical, and never bothered to find out what his peers had really thought of it. He skated much too quickly over Allen's radical and inflammatory views on social issues, and never traced out their origin in his early experiences, even though he knew quite well that they had been formed there.
Worst of all, despite the promise in the sub-title of his book, Clodd did not even try to discover the full extent and variety of Allen's writings, still less to evaluate them. Indeed, it appears that he compiled his bibliography simply by copying out the entries in the British Museum library catalogue of printed books. That library did not -- and does not -- have a complete set of the British editions of Allen's books, let alone of his overseas editions, translations, and the many, many hundreds of his more fugitive publications, a lot of which were unsigned.
After that, the rest is almost silence. Grant Richards reprinted some of Allen's uncollected work just after his death as a favour to his widow, but most of it slumbered undisturbed in the periodicals for another century. The lessons his career had to teach about the trade of writer in the late Victorian era did not yet interest literary historians, and even if they had, many relevant primary documents were still in private hands.
Gradually his contemporaries and friends died off. Ironically, Clodd, who lived to be ninety, must have been one of the last survivors among those of Allen's friends who had observed his authorial career from start to finish. In the inter-war years there was a flicker of interest in Grant Allen as a social prophet and as the spiritual grandfather of the new freedoms which marked the age of jazz and the flapper. A final attempt to evaluate Allen's career as a whole was made in , in a long but flimsy essay by the American literary journalist William Chislett. The first sign of a renewal of interest in Grant Allen's career as a whole came with the approach of the centenary year of his death, The centenary itself was marked by a conference devoted to him at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and the subsequent planning of a book of essays to be issued by Ashgate Press.
Insofar as it is more than an account of an exceptionally busy and self-reflective literary life, this study aims to open up a portal on the socio-economics of professional authorship, using Grant Allen's career to take up the question of how his kind of writer went about extracting a living from the market place in the last three Victorian decades.
How exactly, starting with no assets but a head stuffed with miscellaneous information and armed with a ready pen, did Allen rise to comparative affluence with the kind of wares he had to offer? How exceptional was his achievement? Certainly these questions interested Allen himself, for he had much to say about the working conditions of the authorial trade in late Victorian England.
He would have been the last writer to bridle at the word 'trade'. Indeed, he insisted on using it. For him, the need to earn his daily bread was paramount -- every penny he had came from his pen -- and he had few illusions about what he needed to do to get it. The question of where he might have been, or should have been, as an author was one he inquired into closely and repeatedly. He gave his answers for they are multiple answers now this emphasis, now that; and he cast them in the various forms of the polemical essay, the short story, the fable, and as episodes and authorial asides in his novels.
Always they are always tinged with irony and an appealing if grim humour. The most hateful of professions as a profession, I mean , it becomes tolerable only from a sense of duty to wife and family, or the primary instinct of self-preservation. The wages are low; the prizes few and often fallacious; the work is so hard that it kills or disables most men who undertake it before they arrive at middle life.
We have to deal here with a crowded trade, in which competition is exceptionally and fatally severe -- a trade which kills off its workmen faster than any sweating system ever designed by human ingenuity -- a trade compared with which I speak seriously match-making and silvering and house-painting and coal-mining are healthy and congenial light occupations. Mirror-silvering sweatshop or cosy book-lined study? Match-girls' 'phossy jaw' or writer's cramp?
Which is nearer the truth? Indeed, this biography might be seen as a supplement to the work of the these scholars; for what they do for Collins, Besant, James, Stevenson, Caine, Corelli, Conrad, Bennett, Conan Doyle and others, I have tried to do in my account of the busy life of Grant Allen. In one important respect, however, these studies throw only an indirect light on Allen's career, for that career fits into a particular, distinctive and not well-explored stratum of late-Victorian literary activity. In part of this ground-breaking work Gross analysed the careers of what he called the 'bookman' -- the men and women who rose to prominence in the s to meet the voracious demand for material to fill the novels and the new periodicals.
They were, Gross shows, a distinct new breed: freelancers, but thoroughly professional authors who tried to make the bulk of their living from 'miscellaneous writing'. Miscellaneous writing can be defined, in this context, as the production of popular fiction, semi-popular or specialized non-fiction, and activity in what the French call high vulgarization: that is to say, the upper levels of literary and scientific journalism.
None of the bookmen were creative geniuses, of the kind who create their own audience and succeed, in Gissing's phrase, by mere cosmic force. But neither were they necessarily hacks. As a group they are distinguishable, rather, for their ingenuity and shrewdness, and a determination to make the most of these gifts with relentless hard work.
The stratum of the bookmen was a broad one, and it has several distinguishable layers. It is to one of the most prosperous of these layers that Grant Allen's career belongs. It was a thin layer, however, because very few bookmen made enough money from pen-labour alone to allow them to live out their lives in solid, bourgeois comfort, at the same level, say, as that of the owner of a flourishing family business, of a commissioned army officer of a higher rank, of a partner in a small but thriving legal firm. That was the level to which Allen aspired and which he eventually achieved.
From his perspective, doctors or lawyers or artists were tradesmen too, since they were all freelance artisans who sold their skills daily for what they would fetch in the open market. To put it another way, what Allen wanted was to become a self-employed professional man; a man whose profession is authorship; a man in an honourable profession, capable of earning his fees on exactly the same basis and at the same level as those in comparable lines of work. Certainly he evinced no trace of bohemianism, not even in his earliest days, either in his personal tastes or in his standard of living.
From an early age he had commitments and dependants which he took very seriously. Professionalism and self-respect were his keynotes. Though he wrote fast, and with a close eye on the market, he scarcely repeated himself and he maintained a more than creditable standard, well apart from what Besant called 'the damnation of the cheque'. A salient feature of Allen's career is the amount of detail we have about the path he trod on the way to prosperity as a bookman. This is not true of most of them: few of the bookmen have ever attracted a candid biographer, and the ones who were the subject of a memoir or lengthy obituary soon after their deaths were never subjected to any indelicate probing into their finances.
The difference, in Allen's case, is that the omission is all the more noticeable because his subject himself had an almost neurotic interest in his money-earning capacity and had no scruples about dilating upon it in private or in public. So Allen's own records are one source of information about his advance into affluence.
Then again, few of the bookmen had any scientific interests; yet for Allen writing popular science for the general periodicals and papers was critically important, especially in his earlier years. The socio-economics of popular scientific authorship in this period is another area which is only just starting to be explored. Finally, there is the factor of Grant Allen's own background.
In some ways it was typical of the average bookman, yet in rather more ways it was intriguingly atypical. Nearly all of the most successful bookmen were, as Gross says, pre-eminently Oxbridge men with smooth Oxbridge manners. But he lost that footing quickly, due to illness; and afterwards, as far as can be ascertained, he was on his own. In any case, he barely fits the specification drawn up by Gross who does not mention him.
He left Merton College with a mediocre degree in classics and said afterwards that he regarded himself as being, in effect, self-educated. By background and inclination he was an outsider, with an outsider's detachment, an outsider's idiosyncratic interests, and, potentially at least, an outsider's chip on the shoulder. He was a Canadian who had little good to say about the country of his birth, and the education that his affluent parents had given him at Kingston and in the United States, France and England deracinated him and gave him a flippantly sardonic outlook on English life.
He disliked much about the government, policies, manners and customs of his adopted country, and what he said about them was often abrasively expressed. Apart from a few heroes like Meredith, Hardy and possibly Conan Doyle, he had what Gissing called an 'acrid' view of most of his fellow literary workers, and some of them returned the compliment.
He was not one for coteries or committees or societies. As socialistic as Marx, I am as individualist as Herbert Spencer. But I hope little. I am a gloomy pessimist. I am an invalid and have enough to do to earn a livelihood for my wife and family'. We may close with some statistics which help us take a first measure of our man. In his short life Allen produced seventy-seven volumes counting his three-decker novels as one volume.
He therefore published an average of three and a half books in each one of the twenty-two years of his career, dating from his first book in Of this total, forty-five volumes were novels, collections of short fiction, and poetry. The rest were on an extraordinary range of subjects. Some of them were assembled from periodical articles which had already seen print, but not all that many, for Allen did not reprint his own work very assiduously. This was well over a million words to that magazine alone. Yet he only ever reprinted twenty-six of these essays.
Presumably he thought the others were not worth reviving, though little of the residue is noticeably inferior to the items he did collect. Of his work in fiction, he left at least seventy of his short stories undisturbed in the magazines after their first appearance. As a practitioner of the higher journalism, then -- not to mention his three or four books a year -- Allen was prodigious.
His total output of articles, short stories and reviews amounted to very many hundreds of pieces, and that is only counting his signed or other indisputably identifiable work. He lived, of course, in an age of enormously productive penmen. In the preceding generation, the journalist G. Sala was legendary for his output, and his breadth of interests came close to matching even Allen's. Sabine Baring-Gould , who shared some of Allen's interests in folklore and archaeology, was said in his day to have the longest title-list under one author in the British Museum catalogue.
ISBN 13: 9781491012031
His productivity was sometimes compared to Allen's, but he did not depend on his pen for a living, and his work was done over many decades. The most comparable name that comes to mind at once is Allen's colleague and sparring-partner Andrew Lang But Lang's range was mostly literary-historical. Essentially he was a belle-lettrist; in fact, the very archetype of that species. He could not begin to match Allen's versatility, a point that he readily conceded himself. In terms of quantity and rate of production, Allen's was a record that was not outstripped by many; and in terms of range was outstripped by very few, if any, during his heyday.
Canada and Oxford As the great St Lawrence river streams out of Lake Ontario, with Canada on its western bank and New York State on its eastern, its waters flow over a bed of soft limestone. But here and there, partly obstructing the river's passage, bosses of granite emerge from the water. They are the remnants of a band of tough igneous and metamorphic Precambrian rock, which forms the geological underlay to the Thousand Islands. These shaggy, craggy islets, whose name understates by far their total number, are thickly vegetated with pines and shrubs, and by the mid-nineteenth century they had become popular holiday havens.
Grant Allen's father, Joseph Antisell Allen , was an Irishman and an Anglican clergyman, the son of a barrister from Tipperary. He attended Trinity College, Dublin, but left without a degree and spent some years hacking for a religious publishing house in London. At some time between and accounts differ he left Ireland for the New World, as tens of thousands of his compatriots were doing at the time and presumably for the same reason: to try to better his condition.
If that was his intention he must have succeeded far beyond his expectations, because after being ordained at Montreal, and occupying a couple of livings in Quebec, his fortunes improved dramatically. Charlotte Allen, nee Grant , Grant Allen's mother, had a romantic family background in which were mingled aristocratic French-Canadian, English and Scottish bloods. Her mother was a Coffin, from a Devonshire family of admirals and generals. Her father's family, the Grants, came originally from Blairfindy in Moray county, an area best known now for its small picturesque ruined castle and the Glenlivet whisky distillery.
The Grants were Jacobites, and after Culloden the four sons of the laird fled Scotland to save their necks. By the end of the eighteenth century they had become a distinguished military family in the New World. In , because he needed to be in Kingston to pursue his political ambitions, the Baron built a large house just outside the town. In the government rented this mansion from the Baron to serve as the vice-regal residence for the short period when Kingston was the capital of the united Province of Canada, but in it reverted to the Grants and became the family headquarters.
The frontage, facing towards the town, was quite modest; but any visitor approaching the house from the lake, coming up through the superb gardens along a path edged with irises to a flight of steps leading up to the terrace, got quite a visual shock. There, an ill-proportioned, Italianate portico, rising two full storeys and consisting of a great pediment supported in front by four massive pillars and behind by four equally massive pilasters, overhung and dwarfed the central block.
Grant Allen grew up to detest the imitation classical architecture of the eighteenth century in England, and if this pretentious excrescence was part of his childhood home it is not known exactly when it was added perhaps his animosity started there. Joseph Allen the clergyman could hardly have afforded by his own labours to keep his wife in the style to which she was accustomed. Two children were born to them there before the arrival of their third child and second son on 24 February He was christened Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen.
It was an inheritance not financial, for he never saw a cent of the family fortune, but genetic. Allen liked to think of himself as a pure-bred, typical Celt, a race to which he ascribed many virtues, especially in the arts. He claimed at various times that such unlikely folk as Catullus and Dante Gabriel Rossetti were 'really' Celts. Without following Allen into one of his most enduring crochets, we can surely concede that a blend of seigneurial French, witty Irish, sober pragmatic Devonshire, and canny, brave Scottish bloods was likely to make for a pretty effervescent mixture.
Alwington was a large house, but in the s when Allen was growing up it was fairly crowded. Apart from the owner, the Dowager Baroness the Baron died in , Alwington housed her son Charles James Grant, the sixth Baron, his wife Anna, their seven children, and five servants. Some of the Allens must have lived there too, at least intermittently. The pressure was relieved, however, when his uncle, aunt and the entire family of cousins packed up their household and settled in Paris, never to return, leaving the Baroness and the Allen family in possession.
The last we hear of the Longueuil relations was a comical incident many years later, when a young woman of twenty-eight, a cousin whose name was presumably Hilda Grant but who styled herself Hilda de Longueuil, stayed with the Grant Allens at Dorking in Surrey, to get over a love affair.
She attracted the aging and recently widowed author George Meredith, who pursued her vigorously for a while with letters after she returned to her home in France. The town of Kingston which lay beyond the front gates of Alwington during Allen's childhood was a small place whose chief distinction was some surprisingly grand public buildings.
These were the relics of its brief glory as the capital of the Canadas, a status it had lost just before Allen was born, and they gave it a curious appearance. He left as a child, though he went back twice after that; but in this description he is seeing the town of his birth with thoroughly acclimatized English eyes, as a mature man:.
I could almost fancy myself in the East once more, looking out upon some domed and minaretted village of the Bosphorus. Building after building of a quaint debased American-Byzantine style, propped on pseudo-Doric pillars and surmounted by a false Italian dome wood, tin-plated stared upon us boldly, unabashed by its own pretentious absurdity. Incredibly monstrous they all are, if taken separately. The effect is much heightened, too, by a few scattered martello towers, standing straight out of the shallow water, with red-rusted iron roofs, which contrast finely with the sun-gilded domes.
The level and direction of the sarcasm here are difficult to determine. Is it aimed at the Canadians, or at the reader, or at the writer himself? And in what proportions at each? How deliberate are those cliches and the dead similes? The jaundiced phrasing seems a bit too eager to mock, and so falls into uncertainty: pillars, even if made of concrete, are either of the Doric order or they are not: they cannot be 'pseudo-Doric'. A dome is still a dome, and not 'false' even if it is made of wood and tin. But whatever the exact nature of his reaction at the time, we do know for sure that Allen soon steamed away down the St Lawrence to Quebec and an Atlantic crossing, and found neither occasion nor necessity to visit the land of his birth for another decade.
The presence of the Martello towers and the grim Fort Henry are reminders that Kingston is an ex-garrison town, founded by refugees from the American Revolution and afterwards settled by Irish Protestant immigrants. It was fiercely loyal to the British Crown. It was already home to what would become one of the great Canadian educational institutions, Queen's University. No doubt whatever intellectual stimulation Kingston offered at the time centred on that college, to which Joseph Allen was briefly affiliated.
But Kingston had another very different side to it. After the Orangemen were joined by tens of thousands of poverty-stricken Irish Catholic refugees fleeing the Potato Famine. Outbreaks of cholera and typhus in the slum quarters filled mass graves which had to be dug along the waterfront, and violent feuds among the Irish immigrants, arising from distinctions of class and religion, marked the early years of Allen's childhood.
Grant Allen left Kingston when he was a young teenager, and in any case he spent much of his childhood on Wolfe Island, five kilometres by ferry across a channel dividing it from the gardens of Alwington on the mainland. The largest of the Thousand Islands at about 34km by 11km, Wolfe Island has a different geology.
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