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TITLE
James MacPherson, translator of Ossian
EXTERNAL ID
QZP40_2126_P256
DATE OF IMAGE
1893
PERIOD
1760s
CREATOR
Romney
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
31471
KEYWORDS
James Macpherson
Ossianic poetry
poetry
controversy
Ossian
Celticism
romanticism
translations
Gaelic
James MacPherson, translator of Ossian

James MacPherson was born in Invertromie, Badenoch, in 1736. He was initially educated at home but later attended Inverness Grammar School and was a student at the universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

In 1760 he published 'Fragments of Ancient Poetry, collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and translated from the Gaelic, or Erse language.' The 'Fragments' were claimed to be genuine remains of ancient Celtic poetry and were extremely well-received. When it was suggested that further fragments may be found a subscription was set up to allow MacPherson to give up his job and turn his attention to the search. In 1762 he published 'Fingal', a poem supposedly by Ossian, Fingal's son, which was received equally well. After the publication of 'Temora' in 1763 suspicions over the poetry began to surface, and their authenticity was called into question. The controversy continued after MacPherson's death in 1796.

This portrait can be found in 'Glimpses of Church and Social Life in the Highlands in Olden Times', by Alexander MacPherson

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James MacPherson, translator of Ossian

1760s

James Macpherson; Ossianic poetry; poetry; controversy; Ossian; Celticism; romanticism; translations; Gaelic

Highland Libraries

Fraser Mackintosh Collection (illustrations)

James MacPherson was born in Invertromie, Badenoch, in 1736. He was initially educated at home but later attended Inverness Grammar School and was a student at the universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen.<br /> <br /> In 1760 he published 'Fragments of Ancient Poetry, collected in the Highlands of Scotland, and translated from the Gaelic, or Erse language.' The 'Fragments' were claimed to be genuine remains of ancient Celtic poetry and were extremely well-received. When it was suggested that further fragments may be found a subscription was set up to allow MacPherson to give up his job and turn his attention to the search. In 1762 he published 'Fingal', a poem supposedly by Ossian, Fingal's son, which was received equally well. After the publication of 'Temora' in 1763 suspicions over the poetry began to surface, and their authenticity was called into question. The controversy continued after MacPherson's death in 1796.<br /> <br /> This portrait can be found in 'Glimpses of Church and Social Life in the Highlands in Olden Times', by Alexander MacPherson