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International Companion to James Macpherson and The Poems of Ossian

Edited by Dafydd Moore

Publication Year: 2017

James Macpherson’s “poems of Ossian”, first published from 1760 as Fragments of Ancient Poetry, were the literary sensation of the age. Attacked by Samuel Johnson and others as “forgeries”, nonetheless the poems enthralled readers around the world, attracting rapturous admiration from figures as diverse as Goethe, Diderot, Jefferson, Bonaparte and Mendelssohn. This International Companion examines the social, political and philosophical context of the poems, their disputed origins, their impact on world literature, and the various critical afterlives of Macpherson and of his literary works.

Published by: Association for Scottish Literary Studies

Cover

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Half Title, Series Titles, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Series Editors’ Preface

Ian Brown, Thomas Owen Clancy

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pp. vii-viii

With the successful relaunch of the Companions to Scottish Literature series as the International Companions, under the aegis of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, the series editors have decided to move from the former policy of publishing in annual tranches of two or three volumes to one of issuing volumes as and when they are ready.

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A Brief Biography of James Macpherson

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pp. ix-x

James Macpherson was born in Ruthven in Badenoch, Scotland, in 1736. He was educated at King’s College and Marischal College, Aberdeen, where he would have come under the influence of the noted classicist Thomas Blackwell Jnr, whose Enquiry into the Life and Writings of Homer ...

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Introduction

Dafydd Moore

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pp. 1-13

James Macpherson was born in 1736 in Ruthven and died sixty years later only a few miles down the road on his estate outside Kingussie. But the story of the son of a tenant farmer who ended his days at the house built for him by the Adams brothers and who was buried in Westminster Abbey at his own expense is as unusual as that trajectory suggests. ...

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1. The Correspondence of James Macpherson

Paul deGategno

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pp. 14-25

James Macpherson’s reputation as the poet of Poems of Ossian has undergone a judicious re-examination and analysis since the late twentieth century. This effort continues, for the most part, to show why dismissive and peremptory comments do not explain the poems, their influence, origin, or the man himself. ...

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2. Ossian and the Gaelic World

Lesa Ní Mhunghaile

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pp. 26-38

James Macpherson returned to his native Badenoch in 1756 to take up a post as a country schoolmaster. Once there: ...,

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3. Ossian and the State of Translation in the Scottish Enlightenment

Gauti Kristmannsson

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pp. 39-51

The Poems of Ossian are probably the most commonly used example in modern translation studies to illustrate the concept of pseudotranslation. In his seminal Descriptive Translation Studies and beyond Gideon Toury defines pseudotranslations thus: ‘texts which have been presented as translations with no corresponding source texts in other languages ...

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4. Nostalgic Ossian and the Transcreation of the Scottish Nation

Cordula Lemke

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pp. 52-64

It has often been noted that James Macpherson’s Poems of Ossian have a distinct postcolonial agenda. They were published at a time when a body of opinion existed that there was a need to counter supposedly English traits of character with features that were perceived as being typically Scottish. ...

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5. Landscape and the Sense of Place in The Poems of Ossian

Sebastian Mitchell

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pp. 65-75

In Improvement and Romance: Constructing the Myth of the Highlands (1989), Peter Womack took a dim view of the characteristic features of the Ossianic landscape. He thought that Ossian’s compositions were ‘topographically null’, emptily embellished works with meaningless and arbitrary place names, ‘all wrapped up in the mystique of tradition’.1 ...

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6. Ossian’s Impact on the Discovery of Ancient Scandianvian Literature

Robert W. Rix

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pp. 76-91

In the late eighteenth century, classical literary models of Greece and Rome were challenged as benchmarks of cultural prestige. It was no longer sufficient only to regurgitate the fruits of timeless and transcultural classicism. Instead, cultural prestige was now increasingly to be won through reconstructing one’s own ethnic history. ...

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7. The Significance of James Macpherson’s Ossian for Visual Arts

Murdo Macdonald

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pp. 92-104

The response of visual artists to James Macpherson’s Ossian is an astonishing aspect of Macpherson’s influence. Artists began making work based on Ossian with the publication of Fingal in 1762 and are still making such work today. Many images – for example, the earliest, those of Samuel Wale (1721?–1786) and Isaac Taylor (1730–1807), ...

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8. Macpherson’s Iliad and the Logic of Literary Primitivism

Dafydd Moore

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pp. 105-118

Macpherson’s The Iliad of Homer (1773) rendered all twenty-four books of The Iliad in the measured prose that was so striking a feature of Ossian. For friends and allies, presenting Homer in the manner of The Poems of Ossian was a logical progression in the primitivist project of remediating epic poetry for the late eighteenth century. ...

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9. Principles, Prejudices, and the Politics of James Macpherson’s Historical Writing

Robert W. Jones

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pp. 119-134

This chapter explores James Macpherson’s historical writing, an extensive and demanding body of work. Macpherson’s histories have received little scholarly attention, but their time might at last have come. The last two decades have witnessed a resurgence of interest in eighteenth-century historiography, its aims, methods, and published forms ...

Endnotes

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pp. 135-168

Further Reading

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pp. 169-172

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 173-174

Index

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pp. 175-188

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781908980205
Print-ISBN-13: 9781908980199

Page Count: 198
Publication Year: 2017

OCLC Number: 973536185
MUSE Marc Record: Download for International Companion to James Macpherson and The Poems of Ossian