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OLIVER GOLDSMITH

(1728-1774)

FOLDSMITH began his life in London by persistent work as an

essayist, writing in what was still the dominant style of e Addison and Steele. He wrote essays of this kind for the Critical Review, the British Magazine, the Lady's Magazine, the Busybody, the Bee, and the Citizen of the World. Much of the work he did at this period has been lost, but in the Bee and the Citizen of the World he wrote a very considerable collection of essays, many of which would be valued even were they not known to be his. The Citizen of the World is a record of the observations of a suppositious Chinese philosopher, traveling in England and writing home to « Fum Hoam, First President of the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin.” Goldsmith was born in County Longford, Ireland, November 1oth, 1728. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin, obtaining the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1749. After studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1752, he traveled on foot through western and southern Europe, supporting himself by playing the flute. Returning penniless to London, he attempted to practice medicine, but being obliged to write to support himself, he was forced by his necessities into immortality. After much work of an ephemeral character done for London publishers, he published «The Traveler » in 1765, « The Vicar of Wakefield» in 1766, and his comedy of “The Good-Natured Man” in 1768. Each of these is a masterpiece sufficient of itself to have made his reputation permanent, but in 1770 he followed them with his «Deserted Village,” no doubt his best poem, as it is certainly one of the best ever written. His greatest comedy, «She Stoops to Conquer,” was not produced until 1773, the year before his death. The list of his other works is a long one, and while many of them have been criticized as the hasty work of a “potboiler," all are unquestionably the work of a man of high and fine genius, worthy of the age and company of Samuel Johnson, David Garrick, and Sir Joshua Reynolds.

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