London: Printed for T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt, 1762. First Edition. 4to, , [i]-xvi, 1-270pp; full contemporary calf. Light even toning and some wrinkling to pages; a few marks on endsheets; covers rubbed with the beginning of wear to hinges, which are still sound. Item #206037
A nice copy of the first edition of the greatest literary hoax of the 18th century. Although suspicions about MacPherson's authorship were almost immediate -- most notably from Samuel Johnson -- many readers were taken in by his purported discovery of ancient Gaelic manuscripts. The poems of Ossian became a sensation throughout Europe and found enthusiastic admirers, including most famously, Goethe and Napoleon. The poems were reprinted many times and exerted a significant influence upon the development of Romantic literature.