Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen (February 24, 1848 – October 25, 1899) was a Canadian science writer and novelist, and a successful upholder of the theory of evolution.
He was born near Kingston, Canada West (now incorporated into Ontario), the second son of Catharine Ann Grant and the Rev. Joseph Antisell Allen, a Protestant minister from Dublin, Ireland. His mother was a daughter of the fifth Baron of Longueuil. He was educated at home until, at age 13, he and his parents moved to the United States, then France and finally the United Kingdom. He was educated at King Edward's School in Birmingham and Merton College in Oxford, both in the United Kingdom. After graduation, Allen studied in France, taught at Brighton College in 1870–71 and in his mid-twenties became a professor at Queen's College, a black college in Jamaica.
Despite his religious father, Allen became an agnostic and a socialist. After leaving his professorship, in 1876 he returned to England, where he turned his talents to writing, gaining a reputation for his essays on science and for literary works. One of his early articles, 'Note-Deafness' (a description of what is now called amusia, published in 1878 in the learned journal Mind) is cited with approval in a recent book by Oliver Sacks.
His first books were on scientific subjects, and include Physiological Æsthetics (1877) and Flowers and Their Pedigrees (1886). He was first influenced by associationist psychology as it was expounded by Alexander Bain and Herbert Spencer, the latter often considered the most important individual in the transition from associationist psychology to Darwinian functionalism. In Allen's many articles on flowers and perception in insects, Darwinian arguments replaced the old Spencerian terms. On a personal level, a long friendship that started when Allen met Spencer on his return from Jamaica, also grew uneasy over the years. Allen wrote a critical and revealing biographical article on Spencer that was published after Spencer was dead.
After assisting Sir W. W. Hunter in his Gazeteer of India in the early 1880s, Allen turned his attention to fiction, and between 1884 and 1899 produced about 30 novels. In 1895, his scandalous book titled The Woman Who Did, promulgating certain startling views on marriage and kindred questions, became a bestseller. The book told the story of an independent woman who has a child out of wedlock. [mehr][weniger]
Stephen P. H Butler Leacock, FRSC (30 December 1869 – 28 March 1944) was a Canadian teacher, political scientist, writer, and humourist. In the early part of the 20th century he was the best-known humourist in the English-speaking world. He is known for his light humour along with criticisms of people's follies. The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour was named in his honour.Stephen Leacock was born in Swanmore, in the county of Hampshire in Southern England. He was the third of eleven children born to (Walter) Peter Leacock (b.1834), who was born and grew up at Oak Hill on the Isle of Wight, an estate that his grandfather had purchased after returning from Madeira where his family had made a fortune out of plantations and Leacock's Madeira wine, founded in 1760. Stephen's mother, Agnes, was born at Soberton, the youngest daughter by his second wife (Caroline Linton Palmer) of the Rev. Stephen Butler, of Bury Lodge, the Butler estate that overlooked the village of Hambledon, New Hampshire. Stephen Butler (for whom Leacock was named), was the maternal grandson of Admiral James Richard Dacres and a brother of Sir Thomas Dacres Butler, Usher of the Black Rod. Leacock's mother, Agnes, was the half-sister of Major Thomas Adair Butler, who won the Victoria Cross during the Indian Mutiny.
Peter's father, Thomas Murdock Leacock J.P., had already fostered plans to eventually send his son out to the colonies, but when he discovered that at age eighteen Peter had married Agnes Butler without his permission, almost immediately he shipped them out to South Africa where he had bought them a farm. The farm in South Africa failed and Stephen's parents returned to Hampshire, where he was born. When Stephen was six, he came out with his family came to Canada, where they settled on a farm near the village of Sutton, Ontario, and the shores of Lake Simcoe. Their farm in the township of Georgina in York County was also unsuccessful, and the family was kept afloat by money sent from Leacock's paternal grandfather. His father became an alcoholic; in the fall of 1878, he travelled west to Manitoba with his brother E.P. Leacock (the subject of Stephen's book My Remarkable Uncle, published in 1942), leaving behind Agnes and the children.
Stephen Leacock, always of obvious intelligence, was sent by his grandfather to the elite private school of Upper Canada College in Toronto, also attended by his older brothers, where he was top of the class and was chosen as head boy. Leacock graduated in 1887, and returned home to find that his father had returned from Manitoba. Soon after, his father left the family again and never returned. There is some disagreement about what happened to Peter Leacock; some suggest that he went to live in Argentina, while other sources indicate that he moved to Nova Scotia and changed his name to Lewis. [mehr][weniger]