William Congreve (1670-1729)
From 18th Century Literary Anecdotes

Voltaire recalls his meeting with Congreve.

Mr. Congreve raised the glory of comedy to a greater height than any English writer before or since his time. ... He was infirm and come to the verge of life when I knew him. Mr. Congreve had one defect, which was his entertaining too mean an idea of his own first profession, that of a writer, though it was to this he owed his fame and fortune. He spoke of his works as trifles that were beneath him, and hinted to me in our first conversation that I should visit him upon no other foot than that of a gentleman who led a life of plainness and simplicity. I answered that had he been so unfortunate as to be a mere gentleman, I should never have come to see him; and I was very much disgusted at so unseasonable a piece of vanity.

From Voltaire, Letters Concerning the English Nation By Mr. De Voltaire. (1733), pp. 1188-9.

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