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James Macpherson's controversial The Poems of Ossian (1760-1763) was one of the publishing sensations of the eighteenth century. Macpherson's vision of a romantic Celtic past of melancholy heroes and mournful bards made an immediate impact on all aspects of eighteenth-century culture across Europe and influenced at least two generations of poets, novelists, painters and composers.
Many of the most important documents of the Ossian phenomenon have hitherto only been accessible in a handful of British research libraries. This collection brings these documents for the first time to a wider audience. The first volume contains a substantial introduction to the set. The first and second volumes bring together both the early work of Macpherson and the main Ossian texts, most of which are published here in facsimile for the first time in many years, or since initial publication. The third and fourth volumes publish the important responses to the Ossian controversy, and demonstrate the aesthetic, cultural and political questions at stake. The third volume presents letters, reviews, extracts from various works and pamphlets, while the fourth volume traces Ossian's impact via versifications, dramatisations, and other adaptations of the poems from the 1760s through to the 1820s.
This set will be an indispensable addition to all academic libraries and offer the student of the eighteenth century many texts previously unavailable to the general reader.