Mudcat Café message #4035100 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #167167   Message #4035100
Posted By: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
19-Feb-20 - 06:16 PM
Thread Name: the literary controversy over Ossian
Subject: RE: the literary controversy over Ossian
Yes, HiLo; as I was curious about why anyone should be "embarrassed" that JM had done what many, many others have done, before and since. He re-shaped his materials -and none can deny these existed - in accordance with the conventions and expectations of his time. Whether his work be of high merit is another issue (as it would be with any other work of artifice, like a painting attributed to a famous name, or a musical setting for an Edwardian parlour-song based on a Hebridean melody). That it had a significant effect on European high culture is likewise incontestable. Some may castigate him for what they term "forgery" or "imposture"; some may consider him a mediocre artist. Dr Johnson, c.1780, asked rhetorically and dismissively, "Who now reads Sterne?" Well, who now reads MacPherson's Ossianic fragments? Yet the insult about "forgery" continues, often enunciated confidently by those who know least about the works and their times. I've heard them at it, and read them at it -as indicated away back at the end of January.