Career and Character of Goldsmith - Questionpur

Discuss the career and character of Goldsmith.


It was the end of the reign of George II. London at that time had a population of only 7,60,000 souls, and Old London Bridge, with the high houses on each side of it, was still standing. Literature was just beginning thanks chiefly to Dr Johnson – as an independent profession and freeing itself from the patronage of noblemen. 


Goldsmith had to do hard work to keep himself from starving. He was an usher, druggist, physician (in a second-hand-worn-out suit of green and gold) reader for the press, and usher again. A bookseller, Griffiths, a Paternoster Row, next engaged him as a man-of-all work and hack upon his Monthly Review. 

Goldsmith was now established in London as a bookseller's hack. He wrote articles (for the Bee, the Busybody and the La Judy's Magazine), reviews, prefaces, polished ill-written MSS, and made himself universally useful. By slow and painful degrees he got his first book published, and in 1759 appeared An Inquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe. 


He now made the acquaintance of Bishop Percy (of the Ballads), Garrick, Smollet and best of all Sir Joshua Reynolds and Dr Johnson. He was now chiefly in the employment of Newbery, the bookseller, working hard all day, and spending his evenings with Dr Johnson, at Sir Joshua, or at the Literary club. 


In 1764, he seems to have left Newbery and to have gotten into difficulties. Goldsmith was a good man by nature. His fellow wits loved and despised him by turns." Whenever he comes to the company", said Dr Johnson, "I don't know why he gets confused, and unable to talk." were doing", writes Beauclerc. Mason says, "He was a positive fool except when he had his pen in his hand".

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