Discuss Oliver Goldsmith



Goldsmith was active in drama, poetry and fiction of the pre-Romantic period.

  • – His works include sentimentality, melancholy, simple life… with a bit of EXOTIC .
  • – He had an elegiac rhythm

His works:

  • – Poetry — The Deserted Village: idealization of nature (rural life = simplicity, pleasure rather than hard work), contrast between idyllic past and harsh reality of the present
  • – Drama: comedy – She Stoops to Conquer: was very successful at the time; basically it’s about a woman who pretends she is of a lower rank (=stoops to a lower level to conquer) so that the main character, Marlo, isn’t shy in front of her. In the end she conquers him.
  • o This play is a reaction to the sentimental comedy, Goldsmith ridicules its manner.
  • – Fiction: novel – The Vicar of Wakefield: a pastoral parable, an improbable fairy-tale of a vicar whose family is beset by misfortune; the vicar is the epitome of goodness, but gets cheated upon, loses his fortune, finds himself in prison etc. He cannot understand why God punishes him, but in the end he gets a reward – his daughter gets married and his son gets out of prison.
  • o The vicar is a moral figure; many other figures are based upon him.

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