by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Dawsonville, GA, USA
You get them, we get them, every one gets them. Some are from family
members, some from children of our friends. They mark a special day in the
life of the youngster who deems you special enough to send you one – a high
school graduation invitation! Some mean more than others for obvious
reasons, and one packed with meaning arrived at our house this week. Allow
me to digress and refer you to
Chapter 11 on Robert Burns Lives!
written about Rachel. One hundred and nine additional articles or chapters
have been posted on this web site since then. You need to read that piece,
dated April 29, 2004 - seven years ago - to appreciate this article!
Rachel Bergstrand when she was officially
accepted at Indiana University!
Susan and I watched Rachel grow into a beautiful young teen, but then
several years ago we moved to a lakeside home fifty miles away and sort of
lost track of each other except for occasional conversations with her mom,
Joy. It is difficult for us to believe Rachel has completed her high school
work and will be attending a fine university far removed from her home in
Atlanta in the fall.
Her “thank you” note said, “I will be attending Indiana University in the
fall, where I hope to study writing of some kind. It all started with Robert
Burns and I have the bust statue to thank for that!”
The importance of her last sentence is astounding since neither of us has
talked about Burns for years now. What this proves to me is that you never
know what will happen because of a conversation about Robert Burns. I
imagine Rachel will take a look at creative writing. Burns was a tremendous
prose writer as his letters shout out their creativity. It matters not if he
was looking to the future and how he would be judged by what he wrote or
just speaking from the heart.
So, as Rachel embarks on another big step in her young life, I take joy in
knowing that she feels a bust of Robert Burns and our conversations about
him had a part to play in her wanting to study “writing of some kind”. Bon
voyage, Rachel. Travel safe!
Another important piece of mail made its way to Waverley House this week -
the new book by Natalia Kaloh Vid entitled Ideological Translations of
Robert Burns’s Poetry in Russia and in the
Soviet Union. Those who know this gifted writer and speaker will rejoice
in the publication of her first book. Mark my word - you will hear more
about her and by her in the near future. Natalia will become a highly
coveted speaker at future Burns conferences.
Dr. Vid earned a Ph.D. degree in English literature from the University of
Maribor in Slovenia, focusing on the ideological influence on translations
of Robert Burns’s poetry in Russia and in the Soviet Union. She is currently
finishing her second Ph.D. thesis on Apocalyptic symbolism in Mikhail
Bulgakov’s literary works. Natalia has presented her research at more than
thirty international conferences in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Chile,
Canada, Croatia, Romania, Scotland and Wales. If you are lucky enough to see
her name on an upcoming Burns conference program, sign up as soon as
possible because you are in for a treat!
Natalia previously appeared on the pages of our web site in February of this
year and I invite you to refer to Chapter 107 for more about her.
was my honor to write a blurb for the back cover of her new publication, and
I share that with you here:
From Marx to Burns to Marshak, Natalia Kaloh Vid takes us on an inspiring
and attention- grabbing journey to explain why Robert Burns has and
continues to be so popular in Russia. You will discover, as I did, the
answer in this much needed book which opens a new frontier for all Burnsians.
Samuil Marshak is a name you will come to respect, and for years to come you
will be grateful to the author who is one of the new stars on the Burns
stage! Not only is this a story worth telling, it is one worth reading.
Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot
Editor, Robert Burns Lives! (On