(Dublin: Printed for the United Company of Booksellers, 1775). 175 x 102 mm. (6 7/8 x 4"). Two volumes.
Contemporary polished calf, raised bands, black morocco label. Title pages with ink ownership inscription of Henry Moore. Spine leather rather crackled, extremities a bit rubbed, boards with some staining and patches of insect activity, but the bindings entirely sound and still appealing. Second volume with intermittent foxing (never offensive), both volumes with occasional minor stains, but a very good and attractive set, generally quite clean and fresh internally.
Originally published from 1760 to 1761 in the "Public Ledger" as a series of 123 letters purportedly from a bemused Chinese sage visiting England, "The Citizen" first brought the young Goldsmith to the attention of the reading public. Written with humor and perspicacity, the work, which first appeared in book form in 1762, is an amiable satire on English society of the 18th century, with its class-consciousness, artificiality, and preoccupation with money. Oliver Goldsmith (1730-74) was Irish born and educated at Dublin, before studying in Edinburgh and Leyden, where he seems to have been granted a medical degree. Unsuccessful as a London physician, Goldsmith turned to a life of miscellaneous writing, churning out books and essays for the publishers. He first met Dr. Johnson in 1761, and they became boon companions. Boswell describes Goldsmith as gauche, hapless, and a prattler, but clearly Johnson found the man amusing and lovable. And he was both talented and popular as a writer. His best-known works, both of them classics, are "She Stoops to Conquer" (a comedy about an awkward fellow who prefers the company of barmaids to ladies) and "The Vicar of Wakefield" (a novel with a hero as mild-mannered, garrulous, and improvident as the author himself). Dickens' novels--with their memorable characterizations, many coincidences of plot, and sympathy for the unfortunate--show the deep influence of Goldsmith. This is a work not difficult to find in one edition or another, but contemporary copies in well-preserved condition, like the present one, are hard to come by. (CDT1711)
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