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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

James Macpherson (1736–1796)

Macpherson, James. The Scottish author of the “Ossian” poems; born at Ruthven, Inverness-shire, Oct. 27, 1736; died on Feb. 17, 1796. Some fragments of Gaelic verse with translations, published by him in 1760, attracted so much attention that funds were raised for sending him to the Highlands to discover more. On his return he published the ‘Poems of Ossian,’ consisting of ‘Fingal, an Epic Poem in Six Books’ (1762), and ‘Temora, an Epic Poem in Eight Books’ (1763). They became at once famous, and were translated into nearly every European language. The controversy concerning their genuineness is no longer acute; the authentic Ossianic material bears little resemblance to Macpherson’s vasty rhetoric which, however, was enormously influential in the history of literature. He was secretary to the governor of Florida 1764–66; agent to the Nabob of Arcot 1779; Member of Parliament 1780–90. He wrote also ‘History of Great Britain’ (1775).