Claire Harman

Who’s In, Who’s Out?

Oliver Goldsmith once wrote a ‘Reverie’ in which he imagined standing in an inn yard, trying to board ‘a small carriage, Berlin fashion’ that would take a few choice passengers to the Temple of Fame. Two hopeful men of letters (names withheld, but easily recognisable by most readers in 1759 as Arthur Murphy and John Hill) were refused entrance by the driver of this ‘fame machine’; Smollett, Johnson and Hume all got on board. Goldsmith himself tried to gain access by showing the driver a copy of The Bee, the magazine in which his odd little fantasy appeared. But The Bee was his undoing; the driver took one look at it and told him to buzz off.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • He weeps by the side of the ocean, He weeps on the top of the hill; He purchases pancakes and lotion, And chocolate… ,
    • 'Half-way through The Conquest of Water I felt as if I had been subjected to the literary equivalent of excessive c… ,
    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,