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Kirkby, John

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(circa 1705-1754) UK clergyman and author whose two main works were plagiarized and who may also have written as Pythagorolunister (see Checklist below for title). He substantially lifted his A New English Grammar (1746) from New Grammar (1745) by Anne Fisher (1719-1778), and is not therefore responsible for the eighteenth-century invention of the convention that "he" can stand for he, or she, or it. Fisher's Grammar remained popular; Kirkby's soon went out of print.

Journey to the World in the Moon [for full title see Checklist below] (circa 1740) as by Pythagorolunister is not likely to have been by Kirkby. A RobinsonadeThe Capacity and Extent of the Human Understanding, Exemplified in the Extraordinary Case of Automathes, a Young Nobleman, Who Was Accidentally Left in his Infancy upon a Desolate Island, and Continued Nineteen Years in that Solitary State, Separate from all Human Society; a Narrative Abounding with Many Surprizing Occurrances, both Useful and Entertaining to the Reader (1745), a tale whose subtitle is descriptive – was also partially plagiarized, in this case from an anonymous romance, The History of Autonous (1736), which has no fantastic content. Kirkby's version incorporates Automathes's discovery of a Lost Race: a superior white civilization in the Pacific. [JC]

John Kirkby

born probably Londesborough, Yorkshire: apparently 1705

died Canterbury, Kent: 1754



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