James Macpherson, the poet of Ossian
On this day in 1796, James Macpherson died. He has been derided as a charlatan on account of his 'Ossian' poetry collections. But is this right? 'Charlatan' is a loaded, critical term. Was he economical with the truth as far as the sources of his material were concerned? From a modern vantage point, Macpherson's main failing was a lack of transparency: he failed to explain satsifactorily just what he had done with his 'translations'.
Certainly, his poetry attracted a huge following - anyone that was anybody bought his books!
Read our earlier posting.