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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

Reading Experience Database UK Historical image of readers
 
 
 
 

Record Number: 21370


Reading Experience:

Evidence:

'His disbelief of the authenticity of the poems ascribed to Ossian, a Highland bard, was confirmed in the course of his journey by a very strict examination of the evidence offered for it: and although their authenticity was made too much a national point by the Scotch, there were many respectable persons in that country who did not concur in this; so that his judgment upon the question ought not to be decried, even by those who differ from him. As to myself, I can only say, upon a subject now become very uninteresting, that when the fragments of Highland poetry first came out, I was much pleased with their wild peculiarity, and was one of those who subscribed to enable their editor, Mr. Macpherson, then a young man, to make a search in the Highlands and Hebrides for a long poem in the Erse language, which was reported to be preserved somewhere in those regions. But when there came forth an Epick Poem in six books, with all the common circumstances of former compositions of that nature; and when, upon an attentive examination of it, there was found a perpetual recurrence of the same images which appear in the fragments; and when no ancient manuscript to authenticate the work was deposited in any publick library, though that was insisted on as a reasonable proof, [italics] who [end italics] could forbear to doubt?'

Century:

1700-1799

Date:

Until: 31 Dec 1761

Country:

Scotland

Time

n/a

Place:

n/a

Type of Experience
(Reader):
 

silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Type of Experience
(Listener):
 

solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown


Reader / Listener / Reading Group:

Reader:

James Boswell

Age:

Adult (18-100+)

Gender:

Male

Date of Birth:

29 Oct 1740

Socio-Economic Group:

Professional / academic / merchant / farmer

Occupation:

lawyer and writer

Religion:

n/a

Country of Origin:

Scotland

Country of Experience:

Scotland

Listeners present if any:
e.g family, servants, friends

n/a


Additional Comments:

n/a



Text Being Read:

Author:

James Macpherson

Title:

[Ossian poems, culminating in] Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books, together with Several Other Poems composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal, translated from the Gaelic Language

Genre:

Poetry

Form of Text:

Print: Book

Publication Details

n/a

Provenance

unknown


Source Information:

Record ID:

21370

Source:

Print

Author:

James Boswell

Editor:

R.W. Chapman

Title:

Life of Johnson

Place of Publication:

Oxford

Date of Publication:

1980

Vol:

n/a

Page:

581-2

Additional Comments:

n/a

Citation:

James Boswell, R.W. Chapman (ed.), Life of Johnson, (Oxford, 1980), p. 581-2, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=21370, accessed: 02 March 2021


Additional Comments:

Originally published 1791. Boswell may have seen some poems before their publication in late 1761

   
   
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