Taylor, William (1765–1836)

Reviewer and translator. Born in Norwich, the only child of William and Sarah Taylor. Taylor’s interest in German culture culminated in his Historic Survey of German Poetry (1828–1830). He was also a prolific contributor to the Annual Review, The Athenaeum, Monthly Magazine, and Monthly Review. Southey and Taylor met in 1798, whilst the former was on a visit to Great Yarmouth, where his brother Henry Herbert Southey was being tutored by George Burnett. Taylor introduced Southey to his great friend Frank Sayers (1763–1817; DNB) — whose 1792 collection Poems had influenced Southey’s early work — and also to radical and dissenting circles in Norwich. Taylor gave Southey the idea for the Annual Anthology and was an acute, if frequently blunt, critic of his work. From 1803–1804, he edited the Norwich newspaper The Iris, to which Southey contributed poetry. Southey described Taylor as ‘one of the three great men of my acquaintance ... the more I know him and the longer I know him, the more do I admire his knowledge and love his moral character.’

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