The most sterling reputation is, after all, but a species of imposture. William Hazlitt, "On the Qualifications Necessary to Success in Life"
To call Macpherson or Chatterton a "forger" is at the very least to court anachronism.
The archeology of the spurious clarifies the authenticating devices of the Romantic literary work, while also suggesting how canonical narratives of individual development naturalized the tropes of forgery and imposture. (p. 4-5)
But Hogg is a hero of this study, and gets its last word, for his strong resistance to the cultural project that forged---from a welter of transgressive texts and flamboyant self-inventions---the fiction of authenticity we father on Romanticism.
British Romantic literature descends from a line of impostors, forgers and frauds. Beginning with the golden age of forgery in the late eighteenth century and continuing through canonical Romanticism and its aftermath, Margaret Russett demonstrates how Romantic writers distinguished their fictions from the fakes surrounding them. The book includes works by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Walter Scott, John Clare, and James Hogg, as well as chapters on impostors in popular culture. Russett's interdisciplinary and wide-ranging study offers a major reinterpretation of Romanticism and its continuing influence in the present.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:16 -0400)