Irish playwright, novelist, poet, and essayist. His works include the novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), an outwardly artless and gentle story which is also a social and political satire, and in which rural honesty, kindness, and patience triumph over urban values; it became one of the most popular works of fiction in English. Other works include the poem ‘The Deserted Village’ (1770) and the play She Stoops to Conquer (1773). In 1761 Goldsmith met English writer Samuel Johnson and became a member of his circle.
Goldsmith was born in Pallasmore, County Longford. He went to Trinity College, Dublin, and Edinburgh University, where he studied medicine for two years. After travelling extensively in Europe, he returned to England, almost penniless, and became a hack writer (journalist producing work on demand). In 1759 his first important literary venture, An Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe, was published anonymously. Another early work was The Citizen of the World (1762), a series of letters by an imaginary Chinese traveller, and in 1764 he published An History of England. The poem ‘The Traveller’ was the first work to carry his name; this was followed by collected essays (1765).
Samuel Johnson found a publisher for The Vicar of Wakefield to save Goldsmith from imprisonment for debt at the instigation of his landlady. With that book Goldsmith's reputation was secured. In 1768 his comedy The Good Natur'd Man had considerable success. During the next few years, Goldsmith was occupied with works for publishers, including The History of Rome (1769) and lives of the poet Thomas Parnell (1679–1718) and Lord Bolingbroke (1770). In 1773 he produced his other drama, She Stoops to Conquer, with great success. His last works were Retaliation, The History of Greece, and An History of the Earth and Animated Nature, all published in 1774.
Selected Poetry of Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774)
Goldsmith, Oliver She Stoops to Conquer
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