The Great Formosan Impostor Author:Frederic J. Foley, S. J. Sources & Studies for the history of the Far East: Volume I — "George Psalmanazar was a born imposter and, as such, he enjoyed the thrill of posing as in Irish seminarian, a Japanese ascetic, & finally as a visitor from far Formosa. Eighteenth century England offered George a perfect field for his activities. This was the time when the original &... more » the eccentric were prized as entertainers & conversationalists. Since little was known about China in the London of 1702 Psalmanazar found a ready audience for his romantic tales of the mysterious Orient. The famous, or rather the infamous, Formosan was wined & dined by the great, the learned, & the merely curious. Right up until the final day of exposure he posed as a royal prince & paid for his suppers by repeating his wild & improbable tales about the little known island.
This book records all of the facts known about Psalmanazar from his birth in 1679 to this death in 1763. Original letters, personal memoirs, & first hand descriptions help to round out the picture of the young deceiver & his circle of friends. Even more amazing than the sins of his youth are the achievements of the latter half of his life. It was the reformed Psalmanazar that Doctor Johnson admired for his piety & capacity for hack work. The modern reader of this carefully documented account will probably join the lists of those who came to scoff but stayed to admire the man known only by the assumed name George Psalmanazar."« less