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Allen (1848-1899) was a Canadian science writer and novelist, and a public promoter of Evolution in the second half of the 19th century. He was born in Kingston, Ontario, but the family later moved to the US, then to France, before settling in the UK where Allen attended Merton College, Oxford. After a brief period teaching, he turned to writing, gaining a reputation for his essays on scientific subjects and his first published books were in this field. He later turned to fiction and between 1884 and 1899 produced around 30 novels. This work subtitled An Inquiry Into the Origins of Religions which was first published in 1897 propounds a theory of religion on heterodox lines comparable to Sir Herbert Spencer's "ghost theory" and drew the attention of such luminaries as William James, Sigmund Freud and the young G K Chesterton.