Sunday, July 13, 2008

Work of the Forge and not the File

It's a puzzle why so many supporters of the Union think their cause will be furthered by being rude about the Scots and the Welsh. Perhaps they are secret nationalists although somehow I doubt it. Anyway the recent publication of Hugh Trevor-Roper's The Invention of Scotland has certainly given the little England brigade plenty to pontificate about.

Roper's book "identifies" three Scottish myths: the clan tartan, the forged Ossian poems and the ancient Scottish constitution. Now, of course, these three myths were thoroughly debunked long ago, but never mind, it at least gives our friends the frisson of having made some great discovery. Something similar happens quite regularly here in Wales when a visiting journalist hits on the revelation that the Gorsedd and the Welsh National costume were "invented!!"

Of course the really important point, which escapes them, is why the clan tartan or the Welsh costume became so popular or why the Ossianic forgeries had such an influence on the wider cultural scene.

Roper certainly did not identify the Ossianic forgeries as some of his reviewers hint. That was done long ago, not least by Radnorshire's Edward Davies (1756-1831) - he was born at Hendre Einion in Llanfaredd parish. You can read his book, published in 1825, demolishing the Ossian forgery here.

Of course Roper the historian is best remembered for falling hook, line and embarrassing sinker for the forged Hitler Diaries. A sweet irony.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unionism needs to be called what it is- Nationalism (but for another state other than the "celtic nationalists")

Unionism gives it the cause a goodname as people associate unity with peace and world union/co-operation ...which is definitely not what the UK did to the world ;)