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Fragments Of Ancient Poetry

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Fragments Of Ancient Poetry.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    James MacPherson(Author)

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Format Hardcover Subject Literary Collections

Format Hardcover Subject Literary Collections

4.4 (7516)
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Book details

  • PDF | 56 pages
  • James MacPherson(Author)
  • Kessinger Publishing, LLC (September 10, 2010)
  • English
  • 4
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By John Everard on March 17, 2012

    "Fragments of Ancient Poetry" was perhaps the greatest ever literary hoax. MacPherson persuaded the eighteenth century literary establishment that he had found original and ancient Gaelic poems, which he had translated into English. In fact he seems to have written all of the poems in English himself. Nevertheless his work inspired both music (Fingal's Cave refers to one of his later works) and literature (especially Goethe). Some of the story is told in the useful introduction included in this edition.But this Kindle edition of these poems is shabby. There is no table of contents, interactive or otherwise. Worse, the poems are laid out as prose, with no line breaks. This edition came out in 2005. Perhaps the publishers would consider that it is time to reissue it with these inadequacies corrected?

  • By Christopher (o.d.c.) on March 16, 2016

    What makes the Augustan Reprint Society great? Great introductions, for one.Here the editor puts in a nutshell why "the Ossian controversy" was so passionate in the second half of the 18th Century:... In a note on the fourth and fifth "Fragments" the arch prosecutor of Macpherson commented, "From a singular coincidence of circumstances, it was in this house, where I now write, that I first read the poems in my early youth, with an ardent credulity that remained unshaken for many years of my life; and with a pleasure to which even the triumphant satisfaction of detecting the imposture is comparatively nothing. The enthusiasm with which I read and studied the poems, enabled me afterwards, when my suspicions were once awakened, to trace and expose the deception with greater success. Yet, notwithstanding the severity of minute criticism, I can still peruse them as a wild and wonderful assemblage of imitation with which the fancy is often pleased and gratified, even when the judgment condemns them most."Goethe's young Werther was a devotee of Ossian, and reading these forged "fragments" of ancient Celtic poetry (which were never in verse, but a sort of poetic prose), one senses the Storm and Stress:Alone I am, O Shilric! alone in the winter-house. With grief for thee I expired. Shilric, I am pale in the tomb. She fleets, she sails away; as grey mist before the wind!—and, wilt thou not stay, my love? Stay and behold my tears? fair thou appearest, my love! fair thou wast, when alive! By the mossy fountain I will sit; on the top of the hill of winds. When mid-day is silent around, converse, O my love, with me! come on the wings of the gale! on the blast of the mountain, come! Let me hear thy voice, as thou passest, when mid-day is silent around.Some of these 'fragments' are literally ghost stories, nearly all dwell on death, on grave mounds, on going out to battle to die. To the 21st Century reader, they may seem more melodramatic than sublime, but is that because we "know" they're fake?

  • By Robert Guttman on July 11, 2013

    Although largely forgotten today, this collection of poetry once constituted one of the most famous and notorious hoaxes in the history of literature. It purported to be an ancient Scottish epic poem older than Beowulf and, during the 18th and early 19th centuries, many people believed that was true. Many prominent literary people of the day swore it was a rediscovered masterpiece. Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have carried a copy to war with him. Felix Mendelssohn wrote a well-known tone poem based upon it ("Fingal's Cave"). I had read and heard about it, but never actually read any of it. Consequently, when I stumbled upon it on Amazon, I was curious to see what this work was actually like.While I cannot comment on the historical context of the allusions made in the poetry, many of which have been questioned by Celtic scholars (which I am most assuredly not), the fact is that this appears to be typical turgid 18th century poetry written in imitation of a supposed ancient style, a style that probably never existed. Young Thomas Chatterton, who died at 17 years of age, wrote some of the same sort of poetry during the same period of time, except that I think he wrote rather better. Unfortunately, Chatterton's hoax was revealed sooner than MacPherson's, and so he soon died in obscurity and poverty, rather than live on in fame and financial comfort, as was the case with MacPherson.


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