Taylor, Thomas

Thomas Taylor (1758-1835) was a Platonic philosopher and translator of numerous works of Greek philosophy.  Raised in a dissenting home, he studied for the ministry under Mary Hays's friend and correspondent, Hugh Worthington, at Salters’ Hall, London, but a precipitate marriage led to his taking a position as a bank clerk. He eventually found some patrons (among his friends was the sculptor John Flaxman, who later became a friend of Crabb Robinson) whose financial generosity allowed him to pursue his philosophical studies. His first translation appeared in 1787, and by 1797 he had been dubbed 'the modern Platonist’. Crabb Robinson met Taylor before he left for Germany in 1800 and just prior to Taylor’s appointment as assistant secretary to the Society of Arts in London, a post he maintained until 1806. By the late 1790s, Taylor’s translations of the major works of Platonism had influenced many of the Romantic poets, including Blake and Coleridge; thereafter his reputation waned, though in America he was championed by Emerson and other New England transcendentalists.