Thomas Taylor - Encyclopedia

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THOMAS TAYLOR (1758-1835), English writer, generally called "the Platonist," was born in London on the 15th of May 1758, and lived there till his death on the 1st of November 1835. He was sent to St Paul's school, but was soon removed to Sheerness, where he spent several years with a relative who was engaged in the dockyard. He then began to study for the dissenting ministry, but an imprudent marriage and pecuniary difficulties compelled him to abandon the idea. He became a schoolmaster, a clerk in Lubbock's banking-house, and from1798-1806was assistant secretary to the society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce, which post he resigned to devote himself to the study of philosophy. He had the good fortune to obtain the patronage of the duke of Norfolk and of a Mr Meredith, a retired tradesman of literary tastes, who assisted him to publish several of his works. These mainly consisted of translations of the whole or part of the writings of Aristotle, Plato, Plotinus, Proclus, Pausanias, Porphyry, Ocellus Lucanus, and the Orphic hymns. His efforts were unfavourably - almost contemptuously - received, but, in spite of defects of scholarship and lack of critical faculty, due recognition must be awarded to the indomitable industry with which he overcame early difficulties. He figures as the "modern Pletho" in Isaac Disraeli's Curiosities of Literature and in his novel Vaurien, and as "England's gentile priest" in Mathias's Pursuits of Literature.

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