1761 in poetry


1761 in poetry

yearbox2
in?=in poetry
in2?=in literature
cp=17th century
c=18th century
cf=19th century

yp1=1758
yp2=1759
yp3=1760
year=1761
ya1=1762
ya2=1763
ya3=1764
dp3=1730s
dp2=1740s
dp1=1750s
d=1760s
da=0
dn1=1770s
dn2=1780s
dn3=1790s|

Events

Charles Churchill terrorises the London stage

In March, poet Charles Churchill's "Rosciad" was published at his own expense, after several publishers refused it. The reckless and amusing satire described with disconcerting accuracy the faults of various actors on the London stage, and the poem immediately became popular, both for its personal character, vigour and raciness. No leading London actor, with the exception of David Garrick, had escaped censure, and in the "Apology" Garrick was clearly threatened. The actor deflected criticism by showing every possible civility to Churchill, who became a terror to the stage. Actor Thomas Davies, in a letter to Garrick, wrote that he blundered in the part of Cymbeline owing "to my accidentally seeing Mr. Churchill in the pit, it rendering me confused and unmindful of my business". Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition]

Churchill's satire made him many enemies, and brought reprisals. In "Night, an Epistle to Robert Lloyd" (also published this year), be answered the attacks made on him, offering by way of defence the argument that any faults were better than hypocrisy. Churchill received a considerable sum from sales of the poem, paid off all of his old creditors, and gave an allowance to his wife.

James Macpherson "finds" the work of "Ossian"

This year James Macpherson announced the discovery of an epic on the subject of "Fingal" which Macpherson claimed was written by Ossian. In December he published "Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem in Six Books, together with Several Other Poems composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal, translated from the Gaelic Language", written in the musical measured prose of which Macpherson had made use in his earlier volume. The authenticity of these so-called translations from the works of a 3rd century bard was immediately challenged in England, and Samuel Johnson, after some local investigation, would assert (in "A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland", 1775) that Macpherson had found fragments of ancient poems and stories, then wove into a romance of his own composition. Macpherson is said to have challenged Johnson, who replied that he was not to be deterred from detecting what he thought a cheat by the menaces of a ruffian. Macpherson never produced his originals, which he refused to publish on the grounds of expense. Modern scholars tend to agree with Johnson's assessment.

Works published

* Charles Churchill, "The Rosciad" and "The Apology" (see Events, above)
* John Cleland, "The Times!", Volume 2, a verse satire

Births

* Anabella Plumptre
* John Williams

Deaths

* James Cawthorn
* William Oldys

ee also

*Poetry
*List of years in poetry

Notes


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