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Robert Burns Lives!
Programs at the Mitchell Library


Edited by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Dawsonville, GA, USA
Email: jurascot@earthlink.net

I heard from my Glaswegian friend Ken Simpson today, and he has information I want to share with our readers regarding the man who will never die – Robert Burns! While it pertains to programs at The Mitchell Library and will most probably be more important to our friends in Scotland and maybe some Scots farther south, it will do us all good to know that even though the “Gathering” itself is over, more great programs are being offered regarding the 250th birthday celebration of our Bard. For those of us in America and other non-Scottish countries, we will only wish we could be there for all the lectures. Maybe somewhere down the road some of the papers will be made available to our readers on Robert Burns Lives!  Believe me, I’ll do my best to get them to you if at all possible. Yes, those of us on this side of the pond are eating our hearts out, but in the meantime, our best wishes to Ken and to all of the speakers at The Mitchell. You make us proud to be Burnsians! (FRS: 8.16.09)

Robert Burns at The Mitchell Library, Glasgow

In celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, The Mitchell Library and Glasgow University’s Department of Scottish Literature join forces to offer two series of talks on the work of the great poet and songsmith. The autumn series of talks focuses on the Scottish poets who influenced Burns, his relations with the work of his contemporaries, and his legacy to later Scottish writers. Illustrative materials from the collections of The Mitchell Library will be on display. All talks start at 6.30 p.m.

30 Sept. 2009:  Ken Simpson, ‘Burns and Gavin Douglas’

‘Of Brownyis and of Bogillis full is this buke’: that Burns chose as epigraph to Tam o’ Shanter these lines from Gavin Douglas’s Eneados (1513) is plainly significant. This talk explores the ways in which the example of the great makar may have influenced Burns’s narrative technique and argues that Burns was enlisting in traditions that stretched back to Douglas and beyond.

7 Oct. 2009       Rhona Brown, ‘Ramsay, Fergusson, and Burns’

Rhona Brown discusses the literary and cultural links between these poets, looking closely at individual poems and letters. She examines how Ramsay and Fergusson helped to shape Burns’s poetic ideology and investigates their role as the great triumvirate of Scottish vernacular poetry.

14 Oct. 2009:    Ronnie Young, ‘Burns and the Scottish Enlightenment’

The Edinburgh that Burns visited in 1786-7 was a leading centre of the Scottish Enlightenment and a ‘hotbed of genius’ in which Burns’s own genius first gained wide recognition. This paper looks at the Bard’s creative, and sometimes difficult, relationship with the Scottish Enlightenment and the ways in which Enlightenment culture influenced Burns’s life and work.

21 Oct. 2009:    Alan Riach, ‘Burns, MacDiarmid, and Morgan’

This illustrated talk enquires into the national identity described and endorsed by these great poets and asks what its defining features are, considering the question in its various aspects, the deplorable as well as the uniquely worth celebrating. It also considers ways in which poets profitably and effectively engage with the unfinished business of national identity in the twenty-first century.


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