Vol. 13: Friend, María Losada.

Type: Article

Friend, María Losada. ‘Ghosts or Frauds? Oliver Goldsmith and The Mystery Revealed’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 13 (1998), pp 159-165..

This article looks at Oliver Goldsmith’s 1762 pamphlet The Mystery Revealed as part of the Gothic tradition of the eighteenth century. In the pamphlet, and as well as in his letter entitled ‘A City Night-Piece’ in The Citizen of the World, Goldsmith uses Gothic conventions as a satiric strategy to evaluate the social conscience of Londoners, whose obsession with ghosts, superstition, religious fanaticism, gossip and scandal often ruined the reputations of innocent citizens. Friend discusses the true story of the famous Cock Lane ghost, which Goldsmith refers to in The Mystery Revealed, and which ‘allowed him to explore levels of superstition and credulity, to point out the symptoms of the lack of adequate education and to define the dangerous consequences of the national taste for public scandal and gossip’. Goldsmith is trying to ‘disclose barbarity and irrationality’; he is the ‘critical observer’ who perhaps because of his Irish perspective ‘felt detached enough from English people to criticize them freely’.