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The Religious Affiliation of
Olaf Stapledon
influential early science fiction writer

"Olaf Stapledon married Agnes Zena Miller, a first cousin from Australia, on July 16, 1919, at Friends Meeting House, a Quaker establishment at Reigate, Surrey. Agnes, the oldest of four children, was born in New Zealand on May 25, 1894, the daughter of Frank Edward and Margaret Barnard Miller. Frank was a brother of Olaf's mother, Margaret the daughter of Charles Barnard, headmaster of a Quaker school in Yorkshire..." Stapledon spent four years in the Friends Quaker Ambulance Corps. "Although he was involved with socialist groups and contributed some articles to leftist journals, Stapledon's earliest literary aspirations were poetic. His first book was Latter-Day Psalms, published in 1914 by Henry Young and Sons, Ltd., of Liverpool." Stapledon's writing reflected intense wrestling with concepts of God and faith.

Also: Olaf's agnosticism also derived from his parents. His father apparently subscribed to no sect at all, so any direct religious influence would therefore have had to come from his mother. She was a Unitarian... In his mature years Stapledon denied that he was a Christian, although the increasing strain of mysticism in his work from the 1940's on indicated a deep-rooted sense of religiosity. [Source: Olaf Stapledon: The Man Behind the Works, by Sam Moskowitz.]

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Webpage created 28 July 2005. Last modified 28 July 2005.
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