Reading Nations, Debating Identities: New Approaches to Macpherson's Ossian
Barr, Rebecca Anne
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Barr, Rebecca Anne; Tonra, Justin (2014) Reading Nations, Debating Identities: New Approaches to Macpherson s Ossian. Reading and Identity Conference, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland: Conference Paper
Ossian Online is a project which will harness social media and new reading technologies to crowdsource annotations to the sequence of eighteenth-century works known collectively as the Ossian poems. The project will provide free access to accurate online texts of this seminal work, and enable users to contribute perspectives from their reading to an ongoing virtual discussion. First published in 1760, when Scottish identity was undergoing a crisis in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden, Fragments of Ancient Poetry was James Macpherson s first publication in a series of volumes that purported to be the remains of a third-century epic poem. Questions of Scottish, British, and Irish national and cultural identities are investigated within this and subsequent Ossian texts, and have been debated by readers since their publication. Beyond questions of national and cultural identity, Ossian has attracted interest from a range of different academic disciplines and reading communities (Romanticism, Celticism, Antiquarianism, etc.), who have variously seen it as an articulation of their particular interests. Ossian Online endeavours to bring together these discrete and often competing perspectives into fruitful dialogue around the original texts to create a new reading community and engage fresh knowledge and insight on this important work. Ossian is a work which various groups have used to investigate, shape, and define their identities since its initial publication. This talk will address the question of how digital technologies can contribute to new forms of reading, and how Ossian Online provides a new model for readers to debate and annotate texts within a shared virtual space.
Conference paper; PowerPoint presentation