The Vicar of Wakefield

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Kessinger Publishing, May 1, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 244 pages
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1908. Anglo-Irish author who achieved some success as a miscellaneous contributor to periodicals and as the author of Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning in Europe. But it was not until The Citizen of the World, a series of whimsical and satirical essays, that he was recognized as an able man of letters. His fame grew with The Traveler, a philosophic poem, and the nostalgic pastoral The Deserted Village. The Vicar of Wakefield is Goldsmith's most enduring novel. It is a portrait of village life, narrated by Dr. Primrose, the title character, whose family endures many trials-including the loss of most of their money, the seduction of one daughter, the destruction of their home by fire, and the vicar's incarceration. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.

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About the author (2005)

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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