Pseudonym of Benjamin Henry Jesse Francis Shepard (1848–1927), who was brought from England as an infant and raised in a log cabin in Illinois and elsewhere in the Midwest. Self-educated as a musician, he made his way to Paris (1869) to become a sensational success as a singer and pianist, later touring Europe and the U.S. Given a house in San Diego by admirers, he lived there (1886–88) but returned to Europe to begin a literary career under a pseudonym. His books include La Révolte idéaliste (1889), oracular and sententious essays, in part translated as Modern Mysticism (1899); The Celtic Temperament (1901), displaying apocalyptic theories; The Valley of Shadows: Recollections of the Lincoln Country, 1858–63 (1909), a clear and sensitive view of Midwest pioneers, possessing also a mystic sense of impending great events; Parisian Portraits (1910); La Vie et les hommes (1911), aphorisms; The Humour of the Underman (1911) and Abraham Lincoln, The Practical Mystic (1918), both complementing his major book on Lincoln's land; Illusions and Realities of the War (1918); and Psycho-Phone Messages (1921), spirit utterances of great Americans written during Grierson's last, poverty-stricken days in Los Angeles.
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.