Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Friday, 17 February 2012

On this day: poet James Macpherson

How many drama students have encountered the 18th-century play, Douglas, by John Home?

James Macpherson
Home is also famed (and blamed) for encouraging poet James Macpherson to produce his Ossian epic verses. 

If you've ever lived in a street or a house named Ossian, Fingal, Oscar, Ullin, Malvina, Cona ... (the list goes on, but I'll stop there), then blame Macpherson.  His Works of Ossian were a careful weaving together of Gaelic tales, with a good bit of his own poetic creativity thrown in.  He was one of the most controversial figures of 18th century Scotland.  And he inspired many creative artists, Europe wide - eg, Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave ('The Hebrides overture', op.26).

Macpherson died on 17 February 1796 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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