James Macpherson: Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland

(992 words)
  • Dafydd Moore (University of Plymouth)

Published anonymously by the respected Edinburgh house of Hamilton and Balfour in June of 1760, the 15 short poems or fragments of poems that made up the Fragments were presented as translations from Gaelic heroic verse. A second edition followed in September, lightly revised and with an additional poem inserted at XIII. They were the responsibility of James Macpherson, a 25 year old, classically educated school master from the Highlands of Scotland, aided and abetted by the literati of Edinburgh, one of whose number, Hugh Blair, provided an anonymous preface. Although they were presented as literal translations of extant ballads, only 2 (numbers VI and XIV) have been traced to existing poems, and while it is not …

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Moore, Dafydd. "Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 October 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=9045, accessed 25 September 2016.]