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The Bard Robert Burns, a Biography (Hardcover)

Author:  Robert Crawford
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FORMAT: Hardcover
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Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0691141711
ISBN-13: 9780691141718
Sku: 210553662
Publish Date: 1/1/2009
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 9.25H x 6.5L x 1.25T
Pages:  465
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"Burns was a poetic genius and his life was the stuff of legend. Compelling and timely, this book directs attention to a major poet who has been scandalously neglected in scholarship outside of Scotland for many years."--James Chandler, University of Chicago

"There have been scores if not hundreds of biographies of Burns. In an impressive feat, Crawford has written one that really justifies the claim of providing a new, original account--indeed, I would say it is as close to being definitive as we are likely to get."--Ian Duncan, University of California, Berkeley

From the Publisher:
No writer is more charismatic than Robert Burns. Wonderfully readable, The Bard catches Burns's energy, brilliance, and radicalism as never before. To his international admirers he was a genius, a hero, a warm-hearted friend; yet to the mother of one of his lovers he was a wastrel, to a fellow poet he was "sprung . . . from raking of dung," and to his political enemies a "traitor." Drawing on a surprising number of untapped sources--from rediscovered poetry by Burns to manuscript journals, correspondence, and oratory by his contemporaries--this new biography presents the remarkable life, loves, and struggles of the great poet. Inspired by the American and French Revolutions and molded by the Scottish Enlightenment, Burns was in several senses the first of the major Romantics. With a poet's insight and a shrewd sense of human drama, Robert Crawford outlines how Burns combined a childhood steeped in the peasant song-culture of rural Scotland with a consummate linguistic artistry to become not only the world's most popular love poet but also the controversial master poet of modern democracy. Written with accessible elan and nuanced attention to Burns's poems and letters, The Bard is the story of an extraordinary man fighting to maintain a sly sense of integrity in the face of overwhelming pressures. This incisive biography startlingly demonstrates why the life and work of Scotland's greatest poet still compel the attention of the world a quarter of a millennium after his birth.
Although few in America know the first thing about the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns, nearly all of us can be heard annually singing his most famous composition. To his fellow Scots, however, the man who wrote "Auld Lang Syne" remains a revered mythical figure, and his birthday is celebrated as a national holiday. Robert Crawford's new biography reveals the reasons behind Burns's lasting influence as a Scottish icon. Crawford depicts Burns as a vivacious rambler, who celebrated life and liberty in his verse, and practiced the arts of love with a succession of lucky lasses. But his first love was for language, and Crawford's incisive analysis of Burns's work reveals THE BARD's exceptional gift for inventive rhymes and nuanced lyrics. He was truly a Romantic, not just in literature, but in life.


"Crawford implicitly liberates the poet from his place in the museum of Scotland, and suggests that his work has the power to become once again a vital presence in the life of the people." - Joe Phelan 01/16/2009

"[Robert Burns] shares with great hip-hop artists a genius for catchy, sexy, and memorable rhymes gloriously liberated from the hegemony of standard English." 02/09/2009

"[Burns's] lines may reveal technical mastery of a very high order, but there is a naturalness in them that makes us feel that we are being talked to directly by a man right there at our side as we read. And the soul that he reveals in his words is a warm and human one--there is no pomposity, no reserve, no striving for effect. What we do find is love, in generous quantities, and a sparkling sense of fun." - Alexander McCall Smith 01/23/2009

"[An] outstanding book....[T]his....searching and sensitive[s] why [Burns's] poetry is worth literary examination, as well as how it is illuminated by his life." - John Carey 11/05/2009

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Hardcover
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0465
Product attributePublisher:   Princeton University Press
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