Goldsmith: The Irish Expat in London as Chinese Philosopher
This chapter examines the work of Oliver Goldsmith in the context of Irish expatriatism and the problem of English. Goldsmith was something of a nomad in his early career until he came to lodge in somewhat impoverished surroundings in London. However, he recognised early on that there would be no career for him in Letters if he stayed in Ireland. Working from his garret in London, Goldsmith became a master of role-playing and ventriloquism, assuming the voice of an English country gentleman in “The Deserted Village” and of a “Chinaman” in The Citizen of the World. This chapter examines Goldsmith’s masks in the context of the eighteenth-century interest in chinoiserie, while also interrogating recent Asian readings of his orientalism that completely overlook Goldsmith’s Irishness.
KeywordsOliver Goldsmith Expatriatism Orientalism China Masks
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