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Encyclopedia > James Macpherson

James Macpherson (October 27, 1736February 17, 1796), was a Scottish poet, known as the "translator" of the Ossian cycle of poems (also known as the Oisín cycle). October 27 is the 300th day of the year (301st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 65 days remaining. ... Events January 26 - Stanislaus I of Poland abdicates his throne. ... February 17 is the 48th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1796 was a leap year starting on Friday. ... Royal motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin: No one provokes me with impunity) Scotlands location within the UK Languages with Official Status1 English Scottish Gaelic Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow First Minister Jack McConnell Area - Total - % water Ranked 2nd UK 78,782 km² 1. ... Poets are authors of poems, or of other forms of poetry such as dramatic verse. ... Ossian, alternatively spelled Oisín, son of Fingal (Fionn mac Cumhail), is a poet and warrior of the fianna in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. ... Oisín (or Ossian), son of Fionn mac Cumhail, is a poet and warrior of the fianna in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. ...


He was born at Ruthven in the parish of Kingussie, Inverness-shire. In 1753, he was sent to King's College, Aberdeen, moving two years later to Marischal College. He also studied at Edinburgh, but took no degree. He is said to have written over 4000 lines of verse while a student, but though some of this was published, notably The Highlander (1758), he afterwards tried to suppress it. On leaving college, he returned to Ruthven to teach in the school there. At Moffat he met John Home, the author of Douglas, for whom he recited some Gaelic verses from memory. He also showed him manuscripts of Gaelic poetry, supposed to have been picked up in the Highlands, and, encouraged by Home and others, he produced a number of pieces translated from the Gaelic, which he was induced to publish at Edinburgh in 1760 as Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands of Scotland. Dr Hugh Blair, who was a firm believer in the authenticity of the poems, raised a subscription to allow Macpherson to pursue his Gaelic researches. In the autumn he set out to visit western Inverness-shire, the islands of Skye, North and South Uist and Benbecula. He obtained manuscripts which he translated with the assistance of Captain Morrison and the Rev. A Gallie. Later in the year he made an expedition to Mull, when he obtained other manuscripts. In 1761 he announced the discovery of an epic on the subject of Fingal (Finn mac Cumhail) written by Ossian (Oisín), and in December he published Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books, together with Several Other Poems composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal, translated from the Gaelic Language, written in the musical measured prose of which he had made use in his earlier volume. Temora followed in 1763, and a collected edition, The Works of Ossian, in 1765. Ruthven may refer to: Ruthven railway station, Melbourne Ruthven, Iowa Ruthven Barracks This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Kingussie is a small burgh in the Scottish Highlands adjacent to the A9 road, although the old route of the A9 served as the towns main street. ... Inverness (Inbhir Nis in Scottish Gaelic) is the only city in the Scottish Highlands. ... 1753 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Kings College, Aberdeen was founded in 1495 by Bishop William Elphinstone. ... The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1583, is a renowned centre for teaching and research in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... John Home (September 22, 1722 - September 5, 1808) was a Scottish poet and dramatist. ... Goidelic is one of two major divisions of modern-day Celtic languages (the other being Brythonic). ... Hugh Blair (April 7, 1718 - December 27, 1800) was a Scottish Presbyterian preacher. ... The Old Man of Storr, Skye The Isle of Skye, usually known simply as Skye (Scottish Gaelic: An t-Eilean Sgiathanach) is the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. ... The Uists are the central group of islands in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. ... Benbecula (Scottish Gaelic: Beinn na Faoghla, meaning the mountain of the ford) is an island of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. ... Tobermory with 700 people, the largest settlement on Mull, is home to the only whisky distillery on the island. ... Fionn mac Cumhail was a legendary warrior of Irish mythology. ... Oisín (or Ossian), son of Fionn mac Cumhail, is a poet and warrior of the fianna in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. ...


The genuineness of these so-called translations from the works of a 3rd century bard was immediately challenged in England, and Dr Samuel Johnson, after some local investigation, asserted (in Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, 1775) that Macpherson had found fragments of ancient poems and stories, which he had woven into a romance of his own composition. Macpherson is said to have challenged Johnson, who replied that he was not to be deterred from detecting what he thought a cheat by the menaces of a ruffian. Macpherson never produced his originals, which he refused to publish on the grounds of expense. In 1764 he was made secretary to General Johnstone at Pensacola, Florida, and when he returned, two years later, to England, after a quarrel with Johnstone, he was allowed to retain his salary as a pension. He went on to write several historical works, the most important of which was Original Papers, containing the Secret History of Great Britain from the Restoration to the Accession of the House of Hanover, to which are prefixed Extracts from the Life of James II, as written by himself (1775). He enjoyed a salary for defending the policy of Lord North's government, and held the lucrative post of London agent to Mahommed Ali, nabob of Arcot. He entered parliament in 1780, and continued to sit until his death. In his later years he bought an estate, to which he gave the name of Belville, in his native county of Inverness, where he died. // Events The Sassanid dynasty of Persia launches a war to reconquer lost lands in the Roman east. ... Samuel Johnson circa 1772, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. ... This article is about the inland city of Pensacola. ...


After Macpherson's death, Malcolm Laing, in an appendix to his History of Scotland (1800), propounded the extreme view that the so-called Ossianic poems were altogether modern in origin, and that Macpherson's authorities were practically non-existent. Much of Macpherson's matter is clearly his own, and he confounds the stories belonging to different cycles. But apart from the doubtful morality of his transactions he must still be regarded as one of the great Scottish writers. The varied sources of his work and its worthlessness as a transcript of actual Celtic poems do not alter the fact that he produced a work of art which by its deep appreciation of natural beauty and the melancholy tenderness of its treatment of the ancient legend did more than any single work to bring about the romantic movement in European, and especially in German, literature. It was speedily translated into many European languages, and Herder and Goethe (in his earlier period) were among its profound admirers. Goethe incorporated his translation of a part of the work into his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. Melchiore Cesarotti's Italian translation was one of Napoleon's favourite books. Malcolm Laing (1762 - 1818), was a country gentleman in Orkney. ... Johann Gottfried Herder Johann Gottfried von Herder (August 25, 1744 - December 18, 1803), German poet, critic, theologian, and philosopher, is best known for his concept of the Volk and is generally considered the father of ethnic nationalism. ... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe   Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? (pronounced [gø tÉ™, sometimes incorrectly pronunced Goth, Gurter and Gotha]) (August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832) was a German novelist, dramatist, humanist, scientist, philosopher, and he conducted his civic services as a cabinet minister of Weimar. ... The Sorrows of Young Werther (German, Die Leiden des jungen Werthers) is a loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774. ... Melchiore Cesarotti (1730-1808) was an Italian poet and translator. ... For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation). ...


Authorities

  • For Macpherson's life, see The Life and Letters of James Macpherson ... (1894, new ed., 1906), by T Bailey Saunders.
  • The antiquity of the Ossianic poems was defended in the introduction by Archibald Clerk to his edition of the Poems of Ossian (1870).

External links

This article incorporates text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, which is in the public domain. Supporters contend that the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1911) represents the sum of human knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century; indeed, it was advertised as such. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


 
 

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