HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Oliver Goldsmith, born 10 November 1728
“Life is a journey that must be travelled, no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.”
Oliver Goldsmith was born in Ireland and was a student at Trinity College, Dublin. His life was not a very happy one – he was always in debt, had to churn out writing to earn enough for food, and he was chronically disorganised.
However, he did produce some great classics of our literature. He was a novelist and his book The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) was hugely popular, especially amongst readers of the Victorian era. He was also a poet, and his The Deserted Village (1770) looks at social issues in the English countryside such as depopulation and poverty. And he was a playwright, She Stoops to Conquer is one of the few plays from the 18thC which has had enduring appeal. Goldsmith is also thought to have written the children’s story The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes which is the source of the phrase ‘goody two-shoes’. He was an extremely versatile writer.
Goldsmith moved to London and there got to know many of the famous men of his age. He was friendly with Dr Johnson, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, David Garrick and Horace Walpole.
Oliver Goldsmith died on 4 April 1774, aged 45.
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Susannah Fullerton: The 18th Century – When the English Novel Began
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith
She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith
The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes by Oliver Goldsmith
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