Oliver Goldsmith: Life and works

Oliver Goldsmith was an 18th-century Ango- Irish author. His birth date and year are unknown, but ‘The Library of Congress’s authority file had mentioned to a biographer that Oliver Goldsmith was born on 10 November 1728.

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Oliver Goldsmith

Oliver’s birthplace is a mystery as well. According to some people, he was born either in the townland of Pallas nearby Ballymohan, Country Longford, Ireland or at the Smith Hill House nearby Elphin in country Roscommon. The first address of his birthplace was the place where Oliver’s father was an Anglican Curate of Parish. And the second address of his birthplace was the place which is considered to be his maternal grandfather was a clergyman and also a master of the Elphin diocesan school where Oliver studied too. His father was nominated as a rector of Parish of ‘Kelkkenny west in the country Westmeath; at that time, he was only two years old. The family of Oliver went to the parsonage at Lissoy, which was between Athlone and Ballymohan, and lived there in 1947.

In 1944, Oliver Goldsmith attended Trinity College in Dublin. Theaker Wilder was his tutor. He fell to the bottom of his class and disdained his theology and law studies. In 1949, he completed his graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He tried to make his career in various fields, but he did not succeed. He also studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh from 1752 to 1755. He has traveled also to Flanders, France, Switzerland, and Northan, Italy.

In 1756, Goldsmith settled in London, where he tried to make his career in different fields, including as an apothecary’s assistant and an usher at a school. He was in debt constantly and was addicted to gambling as well. Then he started writing for the publisher of London. Later he came into contact with the famous English writer Dr. Samuel Johnson and became a founding member of “The Club” l Edmund Burk who made the acquaintance of sir George Savile, who later provided a job to him in a Grammar school at Thornhill. In 1758, he published a translation of the autobiography of the Huguenot Jean Marteihe, using the pseudonym James Willington.

According to the statement of Washington, Irving Oliver Goldsmith’s height was either five feet and four inches or six feet and six inches. He had pretty muscular with rather plain features. His sense of humor was quite appreciatable. He likes the company of children, so he becomes pleased spending time with them. Dr. Samuel Johnson, an eminent writer, recognized Goldsmith’s talent. Thomas Penson De Quincey, an English writer, essayist, and literary critic, stated about Gold Smith- “All the motion of Goldsmith’s nature moved in the direction of the tree, the natural, the gentle and the sweet.” Oliver Goldsmith was an Anglican by birth, and he admitted it publicly by stating that – as he took his shoes from a shoemaker and his coat from a trailer, he took his religion from his priest. Moreover, he had a profound revelation for Christians also.

Oliver Goldsmith

A statue of Oliver Goldsmith made by J. H. Foley is put at the arch of Trinity College Dublin. Limestone cell also has a statue of him which is a copy of the same statue which is established outside of Trinity College. Similarly, his statue is made in several places. And many schools and colleges names are named after Oliver Goldsmith names, such as Auburn and Alabama University, are named after him. A Library named “Athlone Institute of Technology” is also named after Oliver Goldsmith. Goldsmith Road, Oliver Goldsmith Estate, and Oliver Goldsmith Primary School are also named after Oliver Goldsmith. All these roads, estates, and schools are stated in Peckham.

Unfortunately, Oliver’s Goldsmith died prematurely in 1744 due to his kidney infection. He was buried in the Temple Church, which is in London.

Works

  • The Deserted Village, 1770
  • Account of the Augustan Age in England, 1759
  • The History of England, from the Earliest Time to the Death of George Second, 1772
  • Dr. Goldsmith’s Roman History Abridged by Himself for use of Schools, 1772
  • A History of World and Animated Nature, 1774
  • The Complete Poetical Work of Oliver Goldsmith, 1887 (edited by Austin Dobson)
  • The Grumbler: An Adoption, 1931 (edited by Perry Wood).

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