‘Floating in the Breath of the People: Ossianic Mist, Cultural Health, and the Creation of Celtic Atmosphere, 1760—1815’

Kaminski-Jones, Rhys (2021) ‘Floating in the Breath of the People: Ossianic Mist, Cultural Health, and the Creation of Celtic Atmosphere, 1760—1815’. Romanticism, 27 (2). pp. 135-148. ISSN 1750-0192

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Abstract

This essay uses Samuel Johnson's characterization of Gaelic culture as an essentially airborne phenomenon as the starting point for a wide-ranging consideration of the links between atmospheric and Celtic discourses during the Romantic era. This period has been deemed foundational to the literary ‘appearance’ of air and the conceptual formation of Celticity, but these two cultural phenomena have rarely been considered in tandem. Beginning with a discussion of the atmospheric ideas that underpin the Poems of Ossian's infamous mists, the essay argues that critics have largely ignored the complexity of Macpherson's medicalized ecologies of air. The essay then moves on to consider the development of comparable cloudy symbolism during the Welsh cultural revival of the 1790s, when overcast skies became an organising metaphor used to express the cultural benightedness of Wales. The often-unexamined cliché of ‘Celtic mistiness’ is revealed as a vital metaphor for the allure and imperfection of intercultural mediation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ossian, Mist, Atmosphere, Celtic, Wales, Medical
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies
Depositing User: Lesley Cresswell
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2021 15:48
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2021 15:48
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1839

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