Talk:Oliver Goldsmith

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Birth date[edit]

So the first paragraph mentions 1728, but the second one says 1730 is the most likely birth year? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:27, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

"According to the Library of Congress authority file, he told a biographer that he was born on 29 November 1731, or perhaps in 1730."

So, what is "the Library of Congress authority file"? -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 06:47, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

Stamp image[edit]

I removed this image from the page. We have a picture of Goldsmith on the page, plupping feathernotweirds such a coolidge fuker, including wishpering researchs and northcanadian bitchs, and it was completely warping the page on my screen. It didn't really seem to add anything to the article. --Prosfilaes 02:54, 9 August 2005 (UTC)


What was his condition?

  • "He was buried in Temple Church; his death in 1774 may have been partly caused by his own misdiagnosis of his condition. There is a monument to him in Westminster Abbey with an epitaph written by Samuel Johnson." 13:36, 23 October 2006 (UTC)


I've reverted to this description because, although it is not a "nationality", it is a generally accepted term used to describe people who identified themselves as English, although being resident in, or holding the greater part of their property in, Ireland. (Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, would be a good example).

The term is not currently useful, but is commonly used when discussing people living during the period when Ireland was ruled entirely from Westminster.Velada 00:13, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Please leave in "Anglo-Irish": Goldsmith lived at a time when there was a very sharp distinction between the Anglo-Irish and the "mere Irish." The term is necessary to understand who Goldsmith was. Evangeline (talk) 10:34, 25 January 2011 (UTC) It is not a nationality, it is a class, see the and Sheodred (talk) 11:10, 29 November 2011 (UTC)


The following anecdote (from James Prior's 1837 life opf Goldsmith) may prove useful:

Illustrative of this point of character, Mr. Edward Mills of Mount Prospect in Roscommon, his relative, and who entered college about two years after him, told a ludicrous story which, though obviously exaggerated, may have had some foundation in truth: he was a professed wit and punster, and therefore the anecdote probably lost nothing in the narration; it may likewise owe something to the whim of the Poet, whose humour was sometimes sufficiently broad and practical.
Mills, whose family in Roscommon was opulent, possessing a handsome allowance at the University, occasionally furnished his relative with small supplies and frequently invited him to breakfast. On being summoned on one occasion to this repast, he declared from within to the messenger his inability to rise, and that to enable him to do so they must come to his assistance, by forcing open the door. This was accordingly done by Mills; who found his cousin not on his bed, but literally in it, having ripped part of the ticking and immersed himself in the feathers, from which situation, as alleged, he found difficulty in extricating himself. By his own account in ex- iplanation of this strange scene, after the merriment which it occasioned had subsided, it appeared that while strolling in the suburbs the preceding evening, he met a poor woman with five children, who told a pitiful story of her husband being in the hospital, and herself and offspring destitute of food, and or a place of shelter for the night; and that being from the country, they knew no person to whom under such circumstances they could apply with hope of relief. The appeal to one of his sensitive disposition was irresistible; but unfortunately he had no money. In this situation he brought her to the college gate, sent out his blankets to cover the wretched group, and part of his clothes in order to sell for their present subsistence; and finding himself cold during the night from want of the usual covering, had hit upon the expedient just related for supplying the place of his blankets. (p.62)

Washington Irving's Life has clearly condensed this episode; one suggestion that it is a plagiarism (there was no transatlantic copyright then). Prior's life is a better source; a modern life would be better still. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 05:36, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


Redundant image[edit]

The image at right is a coarse and mechanical 19th century engraving of the portrait which appears at the top of the page. It adds no visual information and detracts from the article's quality. I have removed it here.--Wetman (talk) 09:39, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

The Deserted Village[edit]

{{helpme}} I am relatively new to WP and have encountered a kind of situation that can be quite common. I had occasion to seek information about this poem and collected a certain amount online. Now, I would like to put it on record for incorporation into the article, by providing pointers for follow up that is useful, without posting errors. And I want to get it out of the way asap. Here is the information.

1. The structuring that leads from what appear to be citation numbers to notes that refer to a bulleted list of references can be very misleading to the unwary. The unfortunate coincidence here is with Rowley's History of England by the poet and forger Thomas Chatterton who was a contemporary of Goldsmith.

2. The comments in the present WP article state that the poem decries the conversion of a village to a landscaped garden of a particular aristocrat. Maybe this is in the book cited in the bulleted list. But it completely misses the point that was taught 68 years ago to about a fifth of British children in the equivalent of 10th grade for a standardized exam needed for academic advancement and school leaving. We were taught that Goldsmith was decrying the Inclosure acts at the national level as they affected rural society throughout the countryside. The specific instance may be correct, but failing to mention the overall context is counterproductive.

3. I cannot get to a library for several days, local librarians cannot get to work because of a blizzard, and I cannot spend a significant amount of further time on this. Efforts to find a good reference to the national relevance of the poem, working online, have led me to OUP online with a plethora of quotes from different books about enclosure over the ages. [1]. These range from Marxist to anti-Marxist opinions. The actual 1773 act is at [2] . Bibliographic database searches lead to specialized scholarly articles.

4. The quote "Ill fares the land ...and men decay" gave the title to "Ill fares the land" by Tony Judt and is displayed in the front matter.

5. The further importance of the poem is shown by over a page of entries in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

6. In case there is an article on English school education (mid 20th century) the exam was called the School Certificate. Every pupil in the north of England had to study The Deserted Village, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, The Lotus Eaters, Michael, St. Agnes Eve, La Belle Dame Sans Merci and a bowdlerized version of Christobel. Typical question: "describe briefly ideas that Deserted Village and Grey's Elegy have in common".

7. Looking for background information in WP leads to the trivial and totally slanted Inclosure Acts, already "WP disputed" and this, in turn, to empty articles about the acts for individual years, which makes a separation that is inappropriate, even (or particularly with) actual content. Do embarrassments like this result from "editors" working in isolation, or from WP contributors handing out assignments to inadequately knowledgeable teams that are left unsupervised? Is there no systematic checking by category experts?

8. The New Oxford Book of English Verse contains Sweet Auburn by Goldsmith that consists of the opening 30 or so lines, morphing to another 30 or so of the final lines. This was picked up years ago in one of the standard databases that local librarians used to track quotations. I can track this done trivially in the New Year.

It is commonplace, in high prestige peer reviewed scholarly journals to include comments along lines: "the date, about 1770, can be fixed more precisely by suggested search strategy", "this topic can be clarified by reference to likewise", "for expediency, only work prior to 1900 has been cited. More recent work can be found from the search tool ... using the key ...". However, I have had such comments deleted because editorializing within a WP article is not allowed. False references to satisfy form without substance is. There are WP codes to support "citation needed" and to create comments in boxes along top of an article. Some have been explained to me. Where can I find a complete list, and provisions for constructing or suggesting more? How can a comment be worded, for insertion after the "explanation" of why Goldsmith wrote the poem, that suggests politely the original reference be checked to see if it has been quoted adequately?

Thanks Michael P. Barnett (talk) 01:47, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

{{verification needed}}, maybe? I'm not exactly sure what you are asking. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 02:27, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
I want to state "The members of the SSMTG included Tom, Dick and Harry". This can be verified by running a Web of Science search on each of them in turn, using the person's name coupled with the the key "band structure calculations". Should I put this in the Discussion, or in a numbered note, or in {{Web of Science, name+band structure calculations}} . If I do that, will it be killed for editorializing within an article/ Michael P. Barnett (talk) 03:12, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Just found [[Template:Verify source]] This gives me a good start on what I was trying to ask. Thanks. For the rest of it, now that I have found Enclosures and cleared up the Rowley mix up I will be bold and make changes. Michael P. Barnett (talk) 03:24, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Malone's Poems and Plays by Oliver Goldsmith (1777)[edit]


I'm working on the article about Edmond Malone and I wonder if someone more familiar with Goldsmith, and with more ready access to the relevant sources for Goldsmith studies, could give me some idea of the significance of Malone's biographical memoir and annotations on the works in Poems and Plays by Oliver Goldsmith (Dublin, 1777). Malone's contributions to literary history and biography in general are aptly dealt with elsewhere, and particularly his contributions to Shakespeare studies, but it would be good to know whether his work on Goldsmith was similarly revolutionary or if it was rather more run of the mill with little original contribution to the study of Goldsmith. Do modern biographers of Goldsmith mention this work? If so, how do they describe it? Is it considered accurate? Comprehensive? --Xover (talk) 12:22, 14 July 2011 (UTC)


Is Goldsmith really buried in Temple Church rather than near Temple Church? I remember that I came upon his gravesite while strolling around the Temple. As far as I remember it's situated on the north side of Temple Church. (talk) 13:52, 15 December 2013 (UTC)