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As Samuel Johnson said in his famous epitaph on his Irish-born and educated friend, Goldsmith ornamented whatever he touched with his pen. A professional writer who died in his prime, Goldsmith wrote the best comedy of his day, She Stoops to Conquer (1773). Amongst a plethora of other fine works, he also wrote The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), which, despite major plot inconsistencies and the intrusion of poems, essays, tales, and lectures apparently foreign to its central concerns, remains one of the most engaging fictional works in English. One reason for its appeal is the character of the narrator, Dr. Primrose, who is at once a slightly absurd pedant, an impatient traditional father of teenagers, a Job-like figure heroically facing life's blows, and an alertly curious, helpful, loving person. Another reason is Goldsmith's own mixture of delight and amused condescension (analogous to, though not identical with, Laurence Sterne's in Tristram Shandy and Johnson's in Rasselas, both contemporaneous) as he looks at the vicar and his domestic group, fit representatives of a ludicrous but workable world. Never married and always facing financial problems, he died in London and was buried in Temple Churchyard.
Tom Davis writes about life in the American South in short stories, articles, and poems. Davis, a resident of Fayetteville, N.C., uses personal experience, imagination, and humor to tell stories about Southern people and events. Davis combines true elements, such as the names of actual persons and events that really took place, with descriptions of imaginary people and places. Davis's books include What Would You Like on Your Mashed Potatoes?, The Long and the Short, Pickberry Pig, and The Patrol Order. Davis's works are also included in A Loving Voice and A Loving Voice II, anthologies of read-aloud short stories. Davis also publishes extensively in newspapers and journals, such as The Carolina Runner, Poet's Sanctuary, and Special Warfare, a professional military journal published by the Special Warfare Center. He has won numerous awards from Byline, a national magazine for writers.