An essayist, novelist, poet, and playwright, Goldsmith was born in Kilkenny West, County Westmeath, Ireland. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, and studied medicine in Edinburgh but never received a medical degree. He traveled to Europe in 1756 and eventually settled in London. He worked as a writer and was friends with the artistic and literary luminaries of the time, including Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Edmund Burke.
Goldsmith is author of the essay collection The Citizen of the World (1762), the novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), the plays The Good Natur’d Man (1768) and She Stoops to Conquer (1773), and the poetry collections Traveller, or, a Prospect of Society (1764), An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog (1766), and The Deserted Village: A Poem (1770).