The Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012 - 314 páginas
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1854 Excerpt: ... THE LIFE OF RICHARD NASH, Of Bath, Esq.. EXTRACTED PRINCIPALLY FROM ORIGINAL PAPERS. Non ego paucis OfFenclar maculis. Hor. Written in 1762, and now first collected. Sec Life, ch. x. THE LIFE OF RICHARD NASH, Esq., The following Memoir is neither calculated to inflame the reader's passions with descriptions of gallantry, nor to gratify his malevolence with details of scandal. The amours of coxcombs and the pursuits of debauchees are as destitute of novelty to attract us as they are of variety to entertain; they still present us but the same picture, a picture we have seen a thousand times repeated. The life of Richard Nash is incapable of supplying any entertainment of this nature to a prurient curiosity. Though it was passed in the very midst of debauchery, he practised but few of those vices he was often obliged to assent to. Though he lived where gallantry was the capital pursuit, he was never known to favor it by his example, and what authority he had was asserted to oppose it. Instead therefore, of a romantic history filled with warm pictures and fanciful adventures, the reader of the following account must rest satisfied with a genuine and candid recital compiled from the papers he left behind, and others equally authentic; a recital neither written with a spirit of satire nor Vol. in. 12 panegyric, and with scarcely any other art than that of arranging the materials in their natural order. But though little art has been used, it is hoped that some entertainment may be collected from the life of a person so much talked of, and yet so little known as Nash. The history of a man who for more than fifty years presided over the pleasures of a polite kingdom, and whose life, though without any thing to surprise, was ever marked with singularity, deserves th...

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As Samuel Johnson said in his famous epitaph on his Irish-born and educated friend, Goldsmith ornamented whatever he touched with his pen. A professional writer who died in his prime, Goldsmith wrote the best comedy of his day, She Stoops to Conquer (1773). Amongst a plethora of other fine works, he also wrote The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), which, despite major plot inconsistencies and the intrusion of poems, essays, tales, and lectures apparently foreign to its central concerns, remains one of the most engaging fictional works in English. One reason for its appeal is the character of the narrator, Dr. Primrose, who is at once a slightly absurd pedant, an impatient traditional father of teenagers, a Job-like figure heroically facing life's blows, and an alertly curious, helpful, loving person. Another reason is Goldsmith's own mixture of delight and amused condescension (analogous to, though not identical with, Laurence Sterne's in Tristram Shandy and Johnson's in Rasselas, both contemporaneous) as he looks at the vicar and his domestic group, fit representatives of a ludicrous but workable world. Never married and always facing financial problems, he died in London and was buried in Temple Churchyard.

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