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The Vicar of Wakefield

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A Tale, Supposed to be written by Himself


(1766)


There are an hundred faults in this Thing, and an hundred things might be said to prove them beauties. But it is needless. A book may be amusing with numerous errors, or it may be very dull without a single absurdity. The hero of this piece unites in himself the three greatest characters upon earth; he is a priest, an husbandman, and the father of a family. He is drawn as ready to teach, and ready to obey, as simple in affluence, and majestic in adversity. In this age of opulence and refinement whom can such a character please? Such as are fond of high life, will turn with disdain from the simplicity of his country fire-side. Such as mistake ribaldry for humour, will find no wit in his harmless conversation; and such as have been taught to deride religion, will laugh at one whose chief stores of comfort are drawn from futurity.-- OLIVER GOLDSMITH


Now becoming settled with his writing and circumstances, Goldsmith took rooms off of Fleet Street, London, then moved to the Temple where he wrote The Vicar of Wakefield (1766). Things were going well with his writing, but he was plagued by tendencies to drink and gamble which would send him off into financial straits. Goldsmith's tale of the country parson is a warm and humorous look at typical English life. While melodramatic, it has an endearing quality of humanity that transcends time and is still in circulation today.


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