Difference between revisions of "Poems of Ossian"

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{{DISPLAYTITLE:''The Poems of Ossian''}}
 
{{DISPLAYTITLE:''The Poems of Ossian''}}
 
===by James Macpherson===
 
===by James Macpherson===
__NOTOC__
 
 
{{BookPageInfoBox
 
{{BookPageInfoBox
 
|imagename=MacphersonPoemsOfOssian1784v2TitlePage.jpg
 
|imagename=MacphersonPoemsOfOssian1784v2TitlePage.jpg
|link=https://catalog.swem.wm.edu/Record/592548
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|link=http://wm-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/01COWM_WM:EVERYTHING:01COWM_WM_ALMA21587490960003196
 
|shorttitle=The Poems of Ossian
 
|shorttitle=The Poems of Ossian
 
|vol=volume two
 
|vol=volume two
|author=James Macpherson
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|author=[[:Category:James Macpherson|James Macpherson]]
|publoc=London
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|publoc=[[:Category:London|London]]
|publisher=Printed for W. STraham and T. Cadell
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|publisher=Printed for W. Straham and T. Cadell
 
|year=1784-1785
 
|year=1784-1785
 
|edition=A new edition
 
|edition=A new edition
|lang=English
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|lang=[[:Category:English|English]]
 
|set=2
 
|set=2
|desc=8vo (23 cm.)
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|desc=[[:Category:Octavos|8vo]] (23 cm.)
}}[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Macpherson James Macpherson] (1736-96) was a Scottish writer most famous for his Ossianic poems.<ref> Derick S. Thomson, [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/17728 “Macpherson, James (1736-1796),] ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'' (Oxford University Press, 2004), accessed October 31, 2013.
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|shelf=M-3
All biographical information is from this source unless otherwise noted.</ref>  Macpherson had an extensive background in Gaelic history and literature, as well as in the classics.<br/>
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}}[[wikipedia:James Macpherson|James Macpherson]] (1736 &ndash; 1796) was a Scottish writer most famous for his collection of Gaelic ballads, purportedly from a 3rd-centruy bard. Macpherson had an extensive background in Gaelic history and literature, as well as in the classics. He began his career as a poet while in university at Aberdeen, writing comical poems and developing prominent contacts in Edinburgh.<ref>Derick S. Thomson, [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/17728 "Macpherson, James (1736-1796),"] ''Oxford Dictionary of National Biography'' (Oxford University Press, 2004), accessed October 31, 2013.</ref>
<br/>
 
 
 
He began his career as a poet in university at Aberdeen, writing comical poems and developing prominent intellectual contacts in Edinburgh.<br/>
 
<br/>
 
  
''The Poems of Ossian'', published in the early 1760s in two volumes, adapts Gaelic oral history, carried down in ballads, to verse easily digestible by non-Gaelic readers.  He “translated” ballads and adapted their plots to piece together historical narratives.  These poems immediately became controversial in Britain because of questions of their authenticity,<ref> Robert P. Fitzgerald, “The Style of Ossian,''Studies in Romanticism'', 6, No. 1 (Boston University, Fall 1966), pp. 22-23.</ref> and because of the tangle of Scottish, English, and Irish rivalries.
+
''The Poems of Ossian'' adapts Gaelic oral history, carried down in ballads, to verse easily digestible by non-Gaelic readers.  Macpherson “translated” ballads and adapted their plots to piece together historical narratives.  The poems immediately became controversial in Britain because of questions of their authenticity,<ref> Robert P. Fitzgerald, "The Style of Ossian," ''Studies in Romanticism'', 6, No. 1 (Boston University, Fall 1966), 22-23.</ref> and also due to the tangle of Scottish, English, and Irish rivalries.
  
[http://lawlibrary.wm.edu/wythepedia/index.php/Thomas_Jefferson Thomas Jefferson] corresponded with Charles Macpherson in 1773, thirteen years after the initial publication of ''The Poems of Ossian'', to ask for a copy of the Gaelic poems James Macpherson used to compose his Gaelic epic poems.<ref> Gilbert Chinard, “Jefferson and Ossian,''Modern Language Notes'', 38, No. 4 (The Johns Hopkins University Press, Apr. 1923), pp. 201-203.</ref> Charles Macpherson responded that no copies of poems existed, as Gaelic was not only a difficult language to learn, but was mostly oral.<ref> Ibid., at p. 201, 203-04.</ref>  This response gets to the heart of the controversy surrounding the poems, which is a rumor that James Macpherson fraudulently composed the poems instead of translating them.<ref> Ibid., at p. 202.</ref>  
+
[[Thomas Jefferson]] corresponded with Charles Macpherson in 1773, thirteen years after the initial publication of ''The Poems of Ossian'', to ask for a copy of the poems Macpherson used in the original Gaelic.<ref> Gilbert Chinard, "Jefferson and Ossian," ''Modern Language Notes'', 38, No. 4 (The Johns Hopkins University Press, Apr. 1923), pp. 201-203.</ref> Charles Macpherson responded that no copies of the poems existed, as Gaelic was not only a difficult language to learn, but was mostly oral.<ref> Ibid., at p. 201, 203-04.</ref>  His reply gets to the heart of the controversy surrounding the poems: that Macpherson composed the poems himself instead of translating them.<ref> Ibid., at p. 202.</ref>
  
 
==Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library==
 
==Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library==
Listed in the [[Jefferson Inventory]] of [[Wythe's Library]] as "Ossian. 2.v. 8vo." and kept by [[Thomas Jefferson]]. Jefferson later sold a copy of the London (1784-1785) edition of ''The Poems of Ossian'' to the Library of Congress in 1815, but the volumes no longer exist to ascertain Wythe's previous ownership.<ref>E. Millicent Sowerby, ''Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson'', 2nd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 4:464-466 [no.4377].</ref> [http://www.librarything.com/profile/GeorgeWythe George Wythe's Library]<ref>''LibraryThing'', s. v. [http://www.librarything.com/profile/GeorgeWythe "Member: George Wythe"] accessed on March 4, 2014.</ref> on LibraryThing mentions the Library of Congress copy but notes "Precise edition unknown. Several two-volume editions in octavo were published." The [https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433 Brown Bibliography]<ref> Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433</ref> includes the Library of Congress copy while also listing a copy of the Paris (1783) edition at the University of Virginia as a possibility for Wythe's copy. The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the London edition.
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Listed in the [[Jefferson Inventory]] of [[Wythe's Library]] as "Ossian. 2.v. 8vo." and kept by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson later sold a copy of the London (1784-1785) edition of ''The Poems of Ossian'' to the Library of Congress in 1815, but the volumes no longer exist to ascertain Wythe's previous ownership.<ref>E. Millicent Sowerby, ''Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson'', (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 4:464-466 [http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015033648125;view=1up;seq=486 [no.4377]].</ref> [http://www.librarything.com/profile/GeorgeWythe George Wythe's Library]<ref>''LibraryThing'', s. v. [http://www.librarything.com/profile/GeorgeWythe "Member: George Wythe"] accessed on March 4, 2014.</ref> on LibraryThing mentions the Library of Congress copy but notes "Precise edition unknown. Several two-volume editions in octavo were published." The [https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433 Brown Bibliography]<ref> Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433</ref> includes the Library of Congress copy while also listing a copy of the Paris (1783) edition at the University of Virginia as a possibility for Wythe's copy. The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the London edition.
  
 
==Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy==
 
==Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy==
Bound in recent half sprinkled calf gilt, raised bands, and red labels. Purchased from Peter Shouler.  
+
Bound in recent half-calf with gilt, raised bands, and red labels. Purchased from Peter Shouler.  
 +
 
 +
Images of the library's copy of this book are [https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolflawlibrary/albums/72157637697575143 available on Flickr.] View the record for this book in [http://wm-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/01COWM_WM:EVERYTHING:01COWM_WM_ALMA21587490960003196 William & Mary's online catalog.]
 +
 
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==See also==
  
View this book in [https://catalog.swem.wm.edu/Record/592548 William & Mary's online catalog.]
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*[[George Wythe Room]]
 +
*[[Jefferson Inventory]]
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*[[Wythe's Library]]
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
 +
 
<references/>
 
<references/>
  
 
==External Links==
 
==External Links==
Read volume one of this book at the [http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433074933379;view=1up;seq=9 Hathi Trust.]
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 +
Read volume one of this book at the [http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433074933379;view=1up;seq=9 Hathi Trust.]<br />
 
Read volume two of this book at the [http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433074933361;view=1up;seq=9 Hathi Trust.]
 
Read volume two of this book at the [http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433074933361;view=1up;seq=9 Hathi Trust.]
  
 +
__NOTOC__
 
[[Category:George Wythe Collection at William & Mary's Wolf Law Library]]
 
[[Category:George Wythe Collection at William & Mary's Wolf Law Library]]
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[[Category:James Macpherson]]
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[[Category:Jefferson's Books]]
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[[Category: Poetry]]
 
[[Category:Possible Surviving Wythe Volumes]]
 
[[Category:Possible Surviving Wythe Volumes]]
 
[[Category:Scottish Literature]]
 
[[Category:Scottish Literature]]
 
[[Category:Titles in Wythe's Library]]
 
[[Category:Titles in Wythe's Library]]
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[[Category:English]]
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[[Category:London]]
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[[Category:Octavos]]

Latest revision as of 10:17, 11 June 2018

by James Macpherson

The Poems of Ossian
MacphersonPoemsOfOssian1784v2TitlePage.jpg

Title page from The Poems of Ossian, volume two, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author James Macpherson
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed for W. Straham and T. Cadell
Date 1784-1785
Edition A new edition
Language English
Volumes 2 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 8vo (23 cm.)
Location Shelf M-3
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]

James Macpherson (1736 – 1796) was a Scottish writer most famous for his collection of Gaelic ballads, purportedly from a 3rd-centruy bard. Macpherson had an extensive background in Gaelic history and literature, as well as in the classics. He began his career as a poet while in university at Aberdeen, writing comical poems and developing prominent contacts in Edinburgh.[1]

The Poems of Ossian adapts Gaelic oral history, carried down in ballads, to verse easily digestible by non-Gaelic readers. Macpherson “translated” ballads and adapted their plots to piece together historical narratives. The poems immediately became controversial in Britain because of questions of their authenticity,[2] and also due to the tangle of Scottish, English, and Irish rivalries.

Thomas Jefferson corresponded with Charles Macpherson in 1773, thirteen years after the initial publication of The Poems of Ossian, to ask for a copy of the poems Macpherson used in the original Gaelic.[3] Charles Macpherson responded that no copies of the poems existed, as Gaelic was not only a difficult language to learn, but was mostly oral.[4] His reply gets to the heart of the controversy surrounding the poems: that Macpherson composed the poems himself instead of translating them.[5]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Ossian. 2.v. 8vo." and kept by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson later sold a copy of the London (1784-1785) edition of The Poems of Ossian to the Library of Congress in 1815, but the volumes no longer exist to ascertain Wythe's previous ownership.[6] George Wythe's Library[7] on LibraryThing mentions the Library of Congress copy but notes "Precise edition unknown. Several two-volume editions in octavo were published." The Brown Bibliography[8] includes the Library of Congress copy while also listing a copy of the Paris (1783) edition at the University of Virginia as a possibility for Wythe's copy. The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the London edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in recent half-calf with gilt, raised bands, and red labels. Purchased from Peter Shouler.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

See also

References

  1. Derick S. Thomson, "Macpherson, James (1736-1796)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), accessed October 31, 2013.
  2. Robert P. Fitzgerald, "The Style of Ossian," Studies in Romanticism, 6, No. 1 (Boston University, Fall 1966), 22-23.
  3. Gilbert Chinard, "Jefferson and Ossian," Modern Language Notes, 38, No. 4 (The Johns Hopkins University Press, Apr. 1923), pp. 201-203.
  4. Ibid., at p. 201, 203-04.
  5. Ibid., at p. 202.
  6. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 4:464-466 [no.4377].
  7. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe" accessed on March 4, 2014.
  8. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433

External Links

Read volume one of this book at the Hathi Trust.
Read volume two of this book at the Hathi Trust.