chapter  37
2 Pages

William Rider on Goldsmith’s prose style, in An Historical and Critical Account of the Lives and Writings of the Living Authors of Great Britain, 1762

This work published in 1762 has been doubtfully attributed to William Rider (1723-85), a miscellaneous writer who had translated Voltaire's Candide in 1759. His high appraisal of Goldsmith's prose style reflects an attitude popular in 1761-3. In December 1761, for example, the Court Magazine, a miscellaneous magazine edited by Hugh Kelly, singled out Goldsmith, along with Johnson, Young, Gray, and a few others, from a list of fifty-six living authors and hailed him as a writer accomplished in 'taste and understanding.' Rider's article, largely biographical, proceeds with brief eulogies of Goldsmith's Enquiry into the Present State of Polite Learning, his Bee, and his Citizen of the World, and ends with an appreciation of his prose style. Since it is the earliest known printed statement about Goldsmith, I have not abbreviated it.