Sheridan and Goldsmith — it sounds a duo, almost a pairing of interchangeables like Tom Stoppard’s Ros and Guil in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It is not really so, needless to say. Sheridan and Goldsmith are utterly distinct and distinctive as playwrights, let alone as men. Yet they do have a great deal in common, more than enough to justify their being discussed at least partly in tandem. Both were Irishmen, born in Ireland of Irish parents, yet making their careers and fame in England. Sheridan was brought to England by his family as a child of eight (and given an English upbringing, including schooling at Harrow). Goldsmith came to London on his own initiative, settling there as a young man in his twenties, after studying at Trinity College, Dublin (and Edinburgh), and spending some colourful ‘wander’ years in various parts of Europe.
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