Definitions for ossianˈɒʃ ən, ˈɒs i ən
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word ossian
; rather rare in the Anglo-Saxon world.
Origin: An anglicisation, made known by James Macpherson, of Oisín, diminutive form of os.
Ossian is the narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson from 1760. Macpherson claimed to have collected word-of-mouth material in the Scots Gaelic said to be from ancient sources, and that the work was his translation of that material. Ossian is based on Oisín, son of Finn or Fionn mac Cumhaill, anglicised to Finn McCool, a legendary bard who is a character in Irish mythology. Contemporary critics were divided in their view of the work's authenticity, but the consensus since is that Macpherson framed the poems himself, based on old folk tales he had collected, and that "Ossian" is, in the words of Thomas Curley, "the most successful literary falsehood in modern history." The work was internationally popular, translated into all the literary languages of Europe and was influential both in the development of the Romantic movement and the Gaelic revival. "The contest over the authenticity of Macpherson's pseudo-Gaelic productions," Curley asserts, "became a seismograph of the fragile unity within restive diversity of imperial Great Britain in the age of Johnson." Macpherson's fame was crowned by his burial among the literary giants in Westminster Abbey, and W.P. Ker, in the Cambridge History of English Literature, observes that "all Macpherson's craft as a philological imposter would have been nothing without his literary skill."
The Nuttall Encyclopedia
the heroic poet of the Gaels, the son of Fingal and the king of Morven, said to have lived in the 3rd century, the theme of whose verse concerns the exploits of Fingal and his family, the translation of which he brought home from fairyland, to which he had been transported when he was a boy, and from which he returned when he was old and blind; James Macpherson, who was no Gaelic scholar, professed to have translated the legend, as published by him in 1760-62-63.
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