Grant Allen

On this date in 1848, Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen was born in Canada. The versatile and prolific author of nonfiction and fiction was well-known to famous contemporaries. The son of a minister, Allen studied at the College Imperial of Dieppe, the King Edward's School of Birmingham, and Oxford University. He taught at a college for Blacks at Spanish Town, Jamaica, for four years, where his agnostic and other progressive views matured. He returned to England and began writing books. His well-regarded Physiological Aesthetics (1877) was dedicated to Herbert Spencer. Other books include Vignettes from Nature (1881), The Evolutionist at Large (1881), The Colours of Flowers (1882), and The Evolution of the Idea of God (1897). Admirers included Huxley and Darwin. Allen's later writings were mostly guidebooks and novels. The Hand of God, a collection of essays, was published posthumously in 1909 by the Rationalist Press Association. D. 1899.

“ . . . the vast mass of existing gods or divine persons, when we come to analyze them, do actually turn out to be dead and deified human beings. . . . I believe that corpse worship is the protoplasm of religion.”

—Grant Allen, cited in Who's Who in Hell edited by Warren Allen Smith

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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