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Ossian and National Epic


Gerald Bär and Howard Gaskill

In the 18th century the appearance of the poems ascribed to Ossian triggered a great interest in national literatures and inspired the imagination and ultimately the productive reception of generations of (pre)romantic poets worldwide. Ossian was instrumental in the appreciation of folk poetry and instrumentalized in the creation of national literature. In the aftermath of Macpherson’s Ossianic publications several nation states as well as stateless nations rediscovered and glorified their own «barbaric» past with «national epics». This volume attempts to reconstitute partly the philological context in order to shed more light on Ossian and national epic in general, its development in European literature and its (re)emergence in different genres and other arts.
Contents: Howard Gaskill: Why ‘Ossian’? – Gerald Bär: Ossian - no laughing matter? – Sebastian Mitchell: Macpherson, Ossian, and Homer’s Iliad – Ana Maria Garcia Bernardo: Pseudotranslations before and after Ossian: The subversive potential for European culture – Gauti Kristmannsson: The Epic Nature of the Nation: the Need for an Epic in European National Literatures – Claude Rawson: From Epic to Fragment: Reflections on Poetic Change – Pirjo Lyytikäinen: The Kalevala: Inventing the national cultural memory – John Greenfiled: … die Teutsche Ilias …: Das Nibelungenlied and the Rise of German Nationalism – Peter Hanenberg: Nationalism on Stage: Kleist’s Drama Die Hermannsschlacht – Klemens Detering: Peter Weiss’s ‘Ästhetik des Widerstands’: Epic of the failed Antifascist Resistance? – Alexandre Dias Pinto: Rewriting the origins of the national master narrative in Robert Southey’s «Fabulous History (of Portugal)» – Vasco Graça Moura: The Lusiads as a global epic – Landeg White: Translating Nationalism – Katerina Karakassi: Traces of Homer or the shadow of the past: Solomos - Cavafy – Enrico Mattioda: From Primitivism to Realism: The Italian Epic – Lydia Schmuck: The Poema de Mio Cid as a Vehicle of Political Ideas: Functionalization of National Figures in Spanish Literature during the Dictatorship – João Soares Santos: Recitations of Ancient Deeds – Maria Aparecida Ribeiro: Iracema and Peri versus Tarzan: the epics of Alencar in cartoon form – Maria do Rosário Lupi Bello: «Camões» or the name of «Portugal»: literature and myth in the Seventh Art – Joep Leerssen: The bard’s garb: Ossian’s dress sense – Calum Colvin: Ossian - An Epic Visual Journey.