Tag Archive: 0Ossian

Goethe’s Ossian, in an unrecorded variant

Goethe’s Ossian, in an unrecorded variant

13th February 2020

One of the connecting threads of our Anglo-German Cultural Relations catalogue is James Macpherson’s highly influential and notoriously fraudulent tales of Ossian. Another, as one might expect, is Goethe. Ossian’s reach was international, and soon made its mark on the young German writer (still only 23), who published his own four-volume edition, in English, in […]

Scottish Gothic

Scottish Gothic

18th February 2015

With the California book fair now behind me, my thoughts turn to Edinburgh, where I shall be exhibiting 6–7 March.  As ever with fairs, what to take?  Here’s a candidate: I’ve written before about Ossian, and the effect it had in Germany (not least, on Goethe), but I’d never heard of this book before: Die eiserne Maske. […]

Imitating a forgery

Imitating a forgery

10th December 2014

James Macpherson (1736–1796) has been called ‘in literary and cultural terms perhaps the most influential of all forgers …  Rare among educated Scots of his era in his familiarity with the Gaelic language and its still primarily oral tradition, he drew largely on both in his early poetry (The Highlander, 1758), which brought him little […]

Goethe’s Ossian

Goethe’s Ossian

8th May 2012

This is the very rare edition of Ossian produced by Goethe (still only 23) and his friend, Johann Heinrich Merck, in Frankfurt in 1777.  The following year Goethe published Die Leiden des jungen Werthers, perhaps the greatest Ossian reader of all, and the success of Macpherson’s work in Germany was assured.  As Henry Crabb Robinson […]