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Profile by George Dance

John Hoole (December 1727 – 2 August 1803) was an English translator, the son of Samuel Hoole (born 1692), a mechanic, and Sarah Drury (c. 1700 – c. 1793), the daughter of a Clerkenwell clockmaker. He was a personal friend of Samuel Johnson.


Hoole was born in Moorfields, London, and married in 1757 Susannah Smith (c. 1730 – 1808), a Quaker from Bishop's Stortford. They had a son, Rev. Samuel Hoole, who became a poet and religious writer of some distinction.[1]


John Hoole worked in India House (1744–83), of which he rose to be principal auditor. In connection with his post, he wrote Present State of the English East India Company's Affairs (1772).[1]

Meanwhile he translated Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered (1763), and Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (1773–83), as well as other works from the Italian. He was also the author of Cleonice, a Tragedy and of two other dramas which failed.

Samuel Johnson was a personal friend of Hoole, who wrote an account of Johnson's final days in the European Magazine of 1799.[2] Robert Southey recalled that Hoole's Jerusalem Delivered was "the first book he ever possessed," apart from a set of sixpenny children's books.[3] Hoole was a genial character, but as a translator he was described not unfairly by Sir Walter Scott as "a noble transmuter of gold into lead."[4]

David Barclay of Youngsbury turned to Hoole to write the biography of his friend John Scott of Amwell, when Johnson, his first choice, died before being able to undertake the work.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b Vivienne W. Painting: Hoole, John (1727–1803). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP), 2004 Retrieved 16 April 2018.]
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Accessed May 19, 2010.
  3. ^ The Early Diary of Frances Burney 1768-1778. Ed. Annie Raine Ellis (London: G. Bell and Sons Ltd., 1913 [1889]), p. 308n.
  4. ^ Scott, Walter. The Journal of Sir Walter Scott, From the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford. Edinburgh: D. Douglas, 1891, p. 204. Accessed August 26, 2007.
  5. ^ David Perman, Scott of Amwell: Dr. Johnson's Quaker Critic, pp. 15–7
  6. ^ Spenserians, John Hoole, An Account of the Life and Writings of John Scott, Esq., Scott, Critical Essays (1785) i-lxxxix.

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