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Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa - PSALMANAAZAAR George - 1704. [1276736]
1704 - PSALMANAAZAAR, George. An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa, an Island Subject to the Emperor of Japan". By George Psalmanaazaar, a Native of the Said Land, now in London. London: Dan Brown et al., 1704. Octavo, modern full brown speckled calf, raised bands, red morocco spine label. $2500.First edition of one of the most notorious and successful publishing hoaxes, with 15 plates (two folding).Psalmanaazaar (actually a Frenchman whose real name was never discovered) originally presented himself in Europe as a Japanese. After teaming up with William Innes, he began presenting himself as a native of Formosa. "To improve his position, Psalmanaazaar, at Innes's instigation, prepared a full account of what he alleged to be his early life and experiences". It was completed in two months, and was issued before the end of 1704, with a dedication to Bishop Compton, as An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa, an Island subject to the Emperor of Japan. There was prefixed a long introduction, describing his reception in England, his travels, and his conversion to Protestantism. He seized every opportunity of abusing the Jesuits, a policy which commended the work to English churchmen. In a later section the language, dress, religious beliefs, and political constitution of Formosa were set forth in detail". the book met with much success." When his mentor Innes abandoned him to become chaplain-general to the English forces in Portugal, Psalmanaazaar was unable to continue the imposture, and gradually lost credibility. By 1708, he was widely ridiculed in the press. Ex-library, with ink- and blind-stamps on the title page and dedication page.Occasional light foxing, neat paper repair to folding plate of Formosan alphabet. Attractive binding fine. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-11-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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