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The Making of Percy's Reliques$
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Nick Groom

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198184591

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198184591.001.0001

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Macpherson and Percy

Macpherson and Percy

(p.61) 3 Macpherson and Percy
The Making of Percy's Reliques

Nick Groom

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the conflict between Thomas Percy and Celtic bard James Macpherson on the subject of literary antiquarianism. The rival claims of Percy and Macpherson on the literary establishment indicate that the handling of the source was crucial to the antiquarian reception of literature and its incorporation into the canon. The two writers derived their methodologies from opposing theories of British history to validate their respective ancient poetry. This chapter suggests that Percy's critical debate with Macpherson influenced the evolution of the literature canon into a hierarchy of physical texts distinct from the popular oral traditions which were codified as folklore in the 1800s.

Keywords:   Thomas Percy, James Macpherson, literary antiquarianism, literary canon, ancient poetry, folklore, British history

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