Ossian's Fingal, 1792by James MacPherson, Ossian
James Macpherson's Works of Ossian, claiming to be a translation from a Celtic original, appeared in 1762. It was denounced as a forgery almost at once, though many continued to believe in its authenticity. Its influence was profound, fostering the notion of an ancient Celtic culture antedating and contrasting with the dominant Saxon and European traditions. For the Romantics, with their cult of spontaneity, the idea of a primitive, bardic utterance had particular relevance. We are reproducing Fingal on its own from an edition of Macpherson's Ossian of the Romantic period, together with Hugh Blair's Critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, first published in 1765 and commonly published with Ossian. Blair encouraged Macpherson, and as professor of Rhetoric and Belles-Lettres at Edinburgh University put his weight behind the work's authenticity.
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