ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

(1759-1796)


The son of an Ayrshire farmer, Robert Burns received some tutoring in literature while a boy. After failing as a farmer he was considered emigrating to seek his fortune, when, with some assistance from the blind poet Thomas Blacklock, his poems made him an instant celebrity. Burns enjoyed the attentions of the literati, toured Scotland, and returned to farming. He accepted a position as an excise-man, though his political views made government employment tenuous. In later years Burns devoted his literary labors to collecting, editing, and publishing traditional songs.


TEXT RECORDS:

1784Stanzas on the Same Occasion [in Prospect of Death].
1786The Cotter's Saturday Night.
1786The Vision.

PUBLICATIONS:

Poems chiefly in the Scottish dialect. 1786, 1787.
The Scots musical museum, ed. James Johnson. 6 vols, 1787-1803.
A select collection of original Scottish airs [ed. G. Thomson]. 4 vols, 1793-99.
Works, ed. James Currie. 4 vols, 1800.
Reliques of Robert Burns, ed. R. H. Cromek. 1808.
Works, ed. Allan Cunningham. 8 vols, 1834.
Letters, ed. J. De Lancy Ferguson. 2 vols, 1931.
Robert Burns's commonplace book 1783-85, ed. J. C. Ewing and D. Cook. 1938.
Poems, ed. James Kinsley. 3 vols, 1968.
Letters, ed. G. Ross Roy. 2 vols, 1985.