Oliver Goldsmith

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Portrait by Joshua Reynolds, 1770 Oliver Goldsmith signature EMWEA.png

Oliver Goldsmith (born November 10, 1728 in Smith-Hill House near Elphin, Roscommon , Ireland , † April 4, 1774 in London ) was an Irish writer and doctor , who for his novel The Pastor of Wakefield (1766), his pastoral poem The Deserted Village (1770) and its plays The Good-natur'd Man (1768) and She Stoops to Conquer (1773) is well known. Under the influence of Buffon , he wrote an extensive natural history: A History of the Earth and Animated Nature , which appeared posthumously in 1774 and had several editions by the beginning of the 20th century. The eight-volume work achieved a similar popularity in England as Brehm's Tierleben as "the Brehm" in Germany.


Oliver Goldsmith's grave
Memorial plaque for the author in London's Temple Church with the inscription: Oliver Goldsmith / born Pallas Co. Longford, Ireland 1728 / died London 1774 / poet, novelist, playwright / author of The Deserted Village , The Vicar of Wakefield , She Stoops to Conquer / “... who left scarcely any style of writing untouched, and touched nothing that he did not adorn” / Dr. Samuel Johnson
Statue in Dublin

Goldsmith was the son of an Anglican cleric and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College, Dublin in 1749 . He first studied theology and law , and later medicine at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leiden . After graduation, he worked as an assistant to a pharmacist in Leiden. Constantly in need of money, Goldsmith produced numerous texts for the publishers in London. With his careful work, however, he earned the friendship of Samuel Johnson , with whom he founded "The Club".


Irish sculptor John Henry Foley made a bronze statue that was placed in front of Trinity College in Dublin .

In County Westmeath north of Athlone on the N55 lies Goldsmith County , which is named after him. The "county" does not designate a political administrative unit in the traditional sense , but is a purely tourist term.

Works (selection)

  • The Vicar of Wakefield
    • The Country Priest of Wakefield. A fairy tale that he is said to have written himself. Translation by Johann Gottfried Gellius. [German first edition]. Leipzig: Weidmann u. Empire 1767
    • The Country Preacher of Wakefield. A story. Translated by Ernst Susemihl . With illustrations by Ludwig Richter . Berlin: A. Hofmann & Comp. 1853.
    • The Country Pastor of Wakefield. From d. Engl. By Ilse Buchholz. Epilogue: Eberhard Brüning. With wood engravings by Andreas Brylka. Leipzig: Dieterich 1959. (Dieterich Collection. 112.)
    • The Country Pastor of Wakefield. Translated from the English by Otto Weith. Stuttgart: Reclam 1971.
    • The Vicar of Wakefield. Revised by Linus Kefer. With 40 illustrations by Alfred Kubin. Vienna, Stuttgart: Wancura 1977.
    • The Vicar of Wakefield. A story supposedly written by himself. From d. Engl. Trans. by Andreas Ritter. Follow-up by David Wells. With 10 illustrations by Tony Johannot. Zurich: Manesse-Verl. 1985. ISBN 978-3-717-51692-7
  • The Citizen of the World or Letters from a Chinese Philosopher, residing in London, to his Friends in the East . London 1762
    • Translated by Johann Gottfried Gellius : Letters from a Chinese philosopher to his friends in the Orient. 2 parts. Weidmanns Erben and Reich, Leipzig 1763–1764
    • German: The citizen of the world or letters from a Chinese philosopher staying in London to his friends in the Far East. Translated by Helmut T. Heinrich . Nachw. Friedemann Berger . Kiepenheuer, Leipzig 1977; again Insel, Leipzig 1985; again Beck, Munich 1986
    • Translated by JK Wetzel : The citizen of the world. Leipzig 1781
  • The Deserted Village 1770
  • She Stoops to Conquer
  • A History of the Earth and Animated Nature


  • John Forster : The Life and Times of Oliver Goldsmith (= Collection of British authors. Vol. 1332/1374). 2 volumes. Copyright edition. Tauchnitz, Leipzig 1873 (digitized: Vol. 1 , Vol. 2 ).

Web links

Commons : Oliver Goldsmith  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Oliver Goldsmith  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. The Vicar of Wakefield (English; from Project Gutenberg )
  2. The Vicar of Wakefield as a free audio book (English) at LibriVox
  3. Karl Joseph Bouginé's handbook cites this translation activity ; there is no other source for it. The information should be used with caution
  4. digitized version
  5. She Stoops to Conquer (English; from Project Gutenberg)
  6. A History of the Earth and Animated Nature , Vol. III; Edition 1816
  7. Explanations of An History of the Earth and Animated Nature (English)