Life and works of Oliver Goldsmith - Questionpur

Write a note on the life and works of Oliver Goldsmith.


Oliver Goldsmith, son of a poor protestant curate of Pallas, in the county of Longford, Ireland, was born there, or possibly at Elphin, Roscoe mon, on November 10, 1728. He spent the greater part of his boyhood in the little village of Lissoy in West Meath, where his father was given a living.


He went to the village school and to local grammar schools, but neither there nor at Trinity College, Dublin, which he entered as a sizar in 1744, did he give any promise of his future greatness. He took his degree in 1749. His father was dead, his mother living in penury, yet for seven years Goldsmith remained a spendthrift and waster.



The patient's relatives contributed thrice to help him emigrate or find work. Finally, in 1752, he was sent to Edinburgh to study medicine. He left Edinburgh with no more knowledge than Dublin had given him. He returned to England in 1756, and for a time was a bookseller's hack. Later he took to teaching and acting, but at neither was he a success.


In 1761, Goldsmith made the acquaintance of Dr Johnson and was admitted to the literary circle which included Garrick, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Burke. Goldsmith was one of the nine members of the club, which was constituted in 1763. His fame was definitely established by the publication of The Traveller in 1764; it was the first work to bear his name.


The Deserted Village came in 1770. It was a descriptive poem, badly planned, but full of exquisite passages. He wrote two comedies The Good Natur'd Man ( 1768 ) and She Stoops to Conquer ( 1774 ). He died of a neglected nervous fever on April 4, 1774, and was buried in the temple. Nullum quod tetigit not ornate ( He touched nothing that he did not adorn ), Johnson's famous epitaph, was at once the most concise and correct estimate of Goldsmith's genius.


It is as a novelist and playwright that Goldsmith is mainly honoured. The appearance of The Vicar of Wakefield was an outstanding landmark in the history of the English novel. She Stoops to Conquer, however, was an immediate success, it has all the ingredients of the perfect force, all the by-plays and mutual misunderstandings that have ever since characterized light comedy in England. 


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