Category: General

A response to the discovery of the Bemis Manuscript of ‘Red, Red Rose’

I am delighted to see Patrick Scott’s blog about his detective work in pinning down the missing ‘Bemis MS’ of Burns’s ‘Red, red rose’, as I had been one of the culprits who had...

Robert Burns, Slavery and Abolition: Contextualising the Abandoned Jamaica Sojourn in 1786 (Part 2 of 2)

The financial success of the Kilmarnock edition is sometimes cited by commentators as the reason why Burns did not go to Jamaica; but this is a simplistic take. The ‘Proposals for Publishing, by Subscription,...

Robert Burns, Slavery and Abolition: Contextualising the Abandoned Jamaica Sojourn in 1786 (Part 1 of 2)

Robert Burns is the most famous Scot in history not to be involved with Caribbean slavery. That he intended to go to Jamaica in late 1786 – in his own words as a ‘poor...

Prof Nigel Leask on Editing the Letters

I’ve enjoyed getting back to editing my batch of letters for the Burns Correspondence, and I’m blogging to mark having just completed the fiftieth today. Among this batch have been the poet’s letters to...

More on Lieutenant Moore: identifying the people in Burns’s correspondence

In John Moore’s letter to Burns, dated 8 Nov. 1787, Moore explained somewhat murkily as an excuse for lateness of his reply that ‘I was envolved in a business that gave me a great...

At a distinct place on the unfolding road of our edition

We are at a marker-stage in our OUP edition of Robert Burns with Kirsteen McCue’s edited volume of Songs for George Thomson being published in February 2021. This means that four of the ten...

The Missing Manuscript of ‘A Red, Red, Rose’

Guest blog by Professor Patrick Scott (Hon. Fellow, CRBS) The lockdown these past few months has altered the pace of Burns research, but not stopped it.  Most research has become even more reliant than...

Picking Up the Pieces: A Burns Letter and the Legacy of Autograph-Hunting

Guest blog by Professor Patrick Scott (Honorary Research Fellow, CRBS) Many Burnsians do not realize quite how much of what they read rests, not on original manuscript evidence, but on earlier and now unverifiable...

Guest Blog by Professor Patrick Scott: A Burns Antedating and Another (Mis)Attribution: Hogg, Cunningham, Monk Lewis, and “The Hermit”

Every early 19th century Burns editor, and every publisher of a Burns edition, took pride in turning up previously-unknown Burns poems and letters. Egerer’s bibliography highlights this process of gradual discovery or recovery by...

Guest blog by Professor Patrick Scott: Laying a Ghost: J. DeLancey Ferguson, and “The Chevalier’s Lament”

An endemic problem in Burns research is that manuscripts go missing.  Earlier editors or auction catalogues list a manuscript that cannot now be located.  Sometimes it has simply disappeared into private ownership, sometimes a...