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Samuel Johnson, the Ossian Fraud, and the Celtic Revival in Great Britain and Ireland

$103.00 (C)

  • Date Published: May 2009
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521407472

$ 103.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • James Macpherson's famous hoax, publishing his own poems as the writings of the ancient Scots bard Ossian in the 1760s, remains fascinating to scholars as the most successful literary fraud in history. This study presents the fullest investigation of his deception to date, by looking at the controversy from the point of view of Samuel Johnson. Johnson's dispute with Macpherson was an argument with wide implications not only for literature, but for the emerging national identities of the British nations during the Celtic revival. Thomas M. Curley offers a wealth of genuinely new information, detailing as never before Johnson's involvement in the Ossian controversy, his insistence on truth-telling, and his interaction with others in the debate. The appendix reproduces a rare pamphlet against Ossian written with the assistance of Johnson himself. This book will be an important addition to knowledge about both the Ossian controversy and Samuel Johnson. Watch Dr. Curley discuss his latest book:

    • Outlines Johnson's responses to James Macpherson's fraudulent 'Ossian' poems
    • Offers a new set of perspectives on the Celtic Revival and the Irish connections of the Ossian debate
    • Features the first publication of Johnson and William Shaw's rare pamphlet against Macpherson
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Thomas Curley has written a consummately Johnsonian book—one that takes up a topic about which Johnson spoke vehemently, that defends Johnson’s position, and that makes a rousing case for the equation of that position with unequivocal truth."
    -Matthew Wickman, Modern Philology Book Reviews

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521407472
    • length: 348 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 160 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.69kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. An introductory survey of scholarship on Ossian: why literary truth matters
    2. James Macpherson's violation of literary truth
    3. Johnson on truth, frauds, and folklore: in the company of Thomas Percy
    4. Searching for truth in the Highlands: Macpherson throws down the gauntlet
    5. Charles O'Conor and the Celtic Revival in Ireland
    6. Johnson and the Irish: more opposition to Ossian
    7. Johnson's last word on Ossian with William Shaw: a finale to controversy
    Appendix: A Reply to Mr Clark (1782) by William Shaw in Association with Samuel Johnson

  • Author

    Thomas M. Curley, Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts
    Thomas M. Curley is Professor of English at Bridgewater State College, Massachusetts.

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