chapter  85
4 Pages

David Masson on Goldsmith’s ‘English style,’ from a memoir prefixed to the Globe edition of Miscellaneous Works of Oliver Goldsmith, August 1868

David Masson {1822-1907), biographer, editor and Professor of English Literature at University College, London from 1853, did not include Goldsmith in his Essays ... on English Poets {Cambridge, 1856), nor did he say much about The Vicar of Wakefield in British Novelists and their Style: Being a Critical Sketch of British Prose Fiction {Cambridge, 1859). But in 1883 he brought out a memoir of Goldsmith that was prefaced to a London edition of The Vicar of Wakefield. This memoir he altered somewhat for republication in 1907, the year of his death. Masson's four key points, as he calls them, argue that Goldsmith the Irishman intentionally turned everything he wrote into an 'English style' inhabited by 'English characters.'