James Lane Allen Papers
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Biographical / Historical Note

James Lane Allen was born on a farm near Lexington, Kentucky on December 21, 1849. As a young boy, he lived the life of the Southern ante-bellum gentry, but by the time he was a teenager, the Civil War and Reconstruction had ushered in a new era for both himself and his family.

In 1894 his novel, A Kentucky Cardinal , was released, making him a commercial as well as a critical success. It was followed by the even more successful novel, The Choir Invisible , in 1897. The Reign of Law (1900) also was successful, but because it was one of the first American novels to deal opening with religious doubt and Darwinism, it angered many churchmen and alienated Allen from some of his readership. The Mettle of the Pasture (1903) was his last commercial success. In February 1925, James Lane Allen died. He was brought to Lexington, Kentucky, to be buried.