This presentation will introduce the early stages of Ossian
Online, a new research initiative to archive and edit James Macpherson’s
profoundly influential work of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European
culture. The project will deploy digital technologies to pilot a new
crowdsourcing model of scholarly collaboration. Ossian Online will
build a multinational online interpretive community through the establishment
of a virtual research environment.
Our talk will introduce the works of the Ossian canon
and describe the desired outcomes of the new project. The work is much
discussed but rarely read, so we will outline the rationale for returning the
focus of Ossianic discourse to the original texts and print culture in which it
first appeared. The presentation will describe ongoing progress on digitising
and encoding major editions from Macpherson’s lifetime (between 1760 and 1773),
as well as future plans for completing a new critical edition which will
visualise the development of the work’s texts across this period.
We will also describe plans to build an online research
environment to facilitate crowdsourced annotation and interpretation of Ossian,
harnessing the interdisciplinary reach and appeal of the work. The project’s
ultimate objectives are to use digital technologies to challenge national and
disciplinary models of previous literary criticism which have impeded full
appreciation of the cultural importance and significance of Ossian.