John Taylor (1781–1864)

John Taylor (1781-1864) was a publisher, essayist, and writer born in East Retford, Nottinghamshire, the son of James Taylor and Sarah Drury. Although in pyramidical circles, he may be remembered for his contributions to Pyramidology and his use of that subject in the fight against adopting the metric system of measurements, his real fame is as the publisher of both Keats and John Clare.

Life

John Taylor's father was a printer and bookseller. He attended school first at Lincoln Grammar School and then he went to the local grammar school in Retford. John Taylor originally apprenticed to his father but eventually he moved to London and worked for James Lackington in 1803. Taylor left after a short while because of his insufficient salary.

He formed a partnership with J A Hessey as Taylor and Hessey at 93 Fleet Street. In 1819, through his cousin Edward Drury, a bookseller in Stamford, he was introduced to John Clare, the poet of Helpston in Northamptonshire. Some moderns have criticised him for correcting and 'polishing' some of Clare's rustic grammar and spelling for publication, but under the expectations of the era, this was probably unavoidable.

He was also Keats's publisher, and published works by Lamb, Coleridge and Hazlitt.

He wrote and published his own work, "Junius Identified", which identified Junius , the writer of "Letters of Junius" (probably correctly) as Sir Philip Francis. This ran to two editions.

In 1821 John Taylor became involved in publishing Blackwood Magazine.

As a significant publisher of the day, he entertained widely.

In later years he became Bookseller and Publisher to the then new University of London and moved to Upper Gower Street. As such he developed a line in what was then the new and developing field of standard academic text books.

John Taylor was the author of the 1859 book "The Great Pyramid", in which he argued that the numbers Pi and Phi may have been deliberately incorporated into the design of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, whose perimeter is close to 2Pi times its height. His theories in Pyramidology were then expanded by Charles Piazzi Smyth.

His 1864 book "The Battle of the Standards" was a campaign against the adoption of the metric system in England, and relied on results from his first book to show a divine origin for the British units of measure.

After his death, many of his manuscripts were put up for sale at Sothebys, but the poets of the Regency era were out of fashion, and the total only fetched c £250. However, when sold in 1897, the manuscripts of Endymion and Lamia fetched £695 and £305 respectively, i.e. £4 and £12 per page respectively.

Publications

*Taylor, John. "Junius Identified", Taylor and Hessey, two editions, ? and 1818.

* Taylor, John. "The great pyramid; why was it built: & who built it?" Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1859 (London).

* Taylor, John. "The battle of the standards. The ancient, of four thousand years, against the modern, of the last fifty years--The less perfect of the two." Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green, 1864 (London).

According to Bernard Lightman, these last two publications are strongly linked. He says: "Taylor and his disciples urged that the dimensions of the Pyramid showed the divine origin of the British units of length." [Bernard Lightman, "Victorian Science in Context," p.450, University of Chicago Press, 1997 [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0226481123&id=vvROgM_bM_gC&pg=PA450&lpg=PA450&dq=pyramidology+smyth+taylor&sig=n4b3F-3XxsgalPaD-QVwdlNn6J8] ]

However, another interesting and significant connection is that his brother, James Taylor (1788-1863), banker of Bakewell in Derbyshire published a number of articles on bimetallism.

See also

* Pyramid inch

References

Additional reference:

:* Blunden, Edmund. Keats Publisher, Jonathan Cape, 1936.

:* Chilcott, Tim. A Publisher and his Circle - the life and work of John Taylor, Keat's Publisher, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972.

:* Stray, Chris (1996). [http://w4.ed.uiuc.edu/faculty/westbury/Paradigm/stray.html John Taylor and Locke’s Classical System] . Retrieved October 19, 2005.


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