Poems of Ossian
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Pages (PDF): 388
Publication Date: 1851
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Ossian purports to be a translation of an epic cycle of Scottish poems from the early dark ages. Macpherson claimed that Ossian was based on an ancient Gaelic manuscript. There was just one problem. The existence of this manuscript was never established. In fact, unlike Ireland and Wales, there are no dark-age manuscripts of epic poems, tales, and chronicles and so on from Scotland. Macpherson is today considered the author of this work. The language of composition was probably English: As Campbell determined, Macpherson wasn't even particularly fluent in Gaelic. The work has literary merits, and historical importance. It resembles other Romantic era attempts at national epic-building such as the Finnish Kalevala; however the Kalevala is acknowledged to be based on years of ethnographic fieldwork by Elias Lönnrot. Lönnrot is now believed to have composed a few bridge portions of the Kalevala; but he didn't pull a great deal of the work out of thin air, as did Macpherson.
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