Joshua Barnes

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Joshua Barnes FRS (10 January 1654 – 3 August 1712), was an English scholar. His work Gerania; a New Discovery of a Little Sort of People, anciently discoursed of, called Pygmies (1675) was an Utopian romance.[1]

Life and work[edit]

He was born in London, the son of Edward Barnes, a merchant taylor.

Educated at Christ's Hospital and at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, he was in 1695 chosen Regius Professor of Greek, a language which he wrote and spoke with the utmost facility.

One of his first publications was entitled Gerania; a New Discovery of a Little Sort of People, anciently discoursed of, called Pygmies (1675), a whimsical sketch to which Swift's Voyage to Lilliput possibly owes something. Among his other works are a History of that Most Victorious Monarch Edward III (1688), an epic work numbering 900+ pages, in which he introduces long and elaborate speeches into the narrative; editions of Euripides (1694) and of Homer (1711), also one of Anacreon (1705) which contains titles of Greek verses of his own which he hoped to publish. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in November, 1710.[2]

He died on 3 August 1712, at Hemingford, near St Ives, Huntingdonshire. He had married Mrs Mason, a widow, of Hemingford

Fiction writer[edit]

Robert Ignatius Letellier considers Gerania, a work of prose fiction, to have been part of an emerging type of adventure novels. A type featuring "the imaginary voyage into alien or fictional regions". They combined first-person adventure narratives with either "satirical social observation", or perceptions of ideal human behaviour in remote lands. A tradition routed in the Utopia (1516) of Thomas More, which found prominent manifestations in The Blazing World (1666) of Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and The Isle of Pines of Henry Neville. This tradition would lead to later works, such as the Robinson Crusoe (1719) of Daniel Defoe.[3]


  1. ^ LeTellier (1997), p. 186
  2. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  3. ^ LeTellier (1997), Introduction p. xxxiii (33)


External links[edit]