Goethe on Goldsmith’s irony and vision of man in The Vicar of Wakefield, in a letter to his friend Zelter, 25 December 1829
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), the great German poet and scientist, like Herder and Schlegel (see above, No. 13), had literally adored Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield from early manhood and regarded it as the finest novel of the eighteenth century. Several of Goethe's works reflect the influence of Goldsmith and there can be no doubt about the force of Goldsmith on his creative imagination and general mental development. This influence has been factually demonstrated by Lawrence M. Price in 'Goldsmith, Sesenheim, and Goethe,' Germanic Review, iv, 1929, pp. 23747· The text here is taken from Goethe's Letters to Zeiter, trans. A. D. Coleridge, London, 1887, p. 381.