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Blind Ossian's Fingal By James Macpherson

Blind Ossian's Fingal by James Macpherson

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James Macpherson's translations of the poetry of Ossian, a third-century Highland Bard, were an instant success. But were the poems part of a great Gaelic oral tradition, or the work of Macpherson's imagination?

Blind Ossian's Fingal Summary

Blind Ossian's Fingal: Fragments and Controversy by James Macpherson

Ossian is a collection of epic poems that bring out the figure of the hero, Fingal, which name comes from Scots Gaelic Fionnghall, meaning 'White Stranger'. The poems where originally written in Gaelic and translated by James MacPherson into English, although there is a long lasting debate about the authenticity of the poems, since some historians believe MacPherson wrote them himself, whilst Irish historians hold that Ossian has its roots in Irish myths, not Scottish. Despite the debate, The Poems of Ossian achieved international success and have been compared with Homer's Iliad, inspiring many later writers such as Walter Scott and Goethe.

About James Macpherson

James MacPherson (1736-1796) was born in Badenoch, Inverness-shire. He studied in Aberdeen and Edinburgh and translated many poems from Gaelic which were allegedly found in different places of the Scottish Highlands, some of them published in 1760 as Fragments of Ancient Poetry Collected in the Highlands of Scotland. Very soon he had detractors who did not believe of the authenticity of the poems but also supporters, among whom Hugh Blair, who helped MacPherson in carrying out his research. Writer, politician and historian, he died in his native Inverness-shire.

Additional information

Blind Ossian's Fingal: Fragments and Controversy by James Macpherson
Luath Press Ltd
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