« Prynne, William Psalmanazar, George Psalm Melodies, French »

Psalmanazar, George

PSALMANAZAR, GEORGE: Literary impostor; b. 1679? d. in London May 3, 1763. The above name was assumed, and he pretended to be a Formosan, though he was really a native of the south of France. He came from Flanders to London as an ostensible convert to Christianity. He was kindly received, and had astonishing success in imposing upon the learned; for he not only compiled and invented a description of the Island of Formosa (London, 1704), but actually a language for the country, into which he translated the Church Catechism, by request of Bishop Compton, whose protégé he was. His fraud was, however, discovered at Oxford, and for the rest of his life he supported himself by writing for booksellers. As the pretended Formosan, he played the part of a heathen; but from his thirty-second year he was in all his actions a genuine Christian, and won the highest respect of his contemporaries.

Bibliography: Consult his own Memoirs of . . . , commonly known by the Name of George Psalmanazar, London, 1764; J. Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, ed. G. B. Hill, iii. 314, 443–449, iv. 274, 6 vols., Oxford, 1887; DNB, xlvi. 439–442.

« Prynne, William Psalmanazar, George Psalm Melodies, French »
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