Stenlake Publishing - The Essential Robert Burns

The Essential Robert Burns

Author : Ann Matheson
ISBN : 9780907526971
Cover : paperback
Price : £13.95

Burns Night is approaching once again but if you’re not Scottish and don’t know your wean from your een then enjoyment of the works of Robert Burns can seem like a private club for Scots speakers from which you are excluded except for being allowed to sing the wrong words to Auld Lang Syne on Hogmanay. With this book we have tried to address that problem to make Burns accessible to all. For non-Scots speakers who’ve never quite ‘got’ Burns, this is the perfect introduction to Scotland’s bard. With full English translations alongside the original Scots, Ann Matheson interprets, explains and explores the poet’s best-loved works in a fresh way, helping anyone new to Burns – or put off by the language – to discover the wit, warmth and vitality of these timeless poems and songs. It’s a collection of the best-known and the best of Burns’ poems and songs. Arranged chronologically from the earliest works to the last each poem or song is introduced with a few sentences by Ann, a combination of biographical information about Rabbie’s colourful journey through adult life and background to the content of the poem, often reflecting the social, historical or religious context. An extra feature is an eight-page section reproducing the original manuscript of The Holy Fair in full colour courtesy of our friends at Irvine Burns Club who own the original. The book also features specially commissioned watercolour drawings by Margaret Miller, son of the late Irving Miller, as well as other illustrations from Victorian editions of Burns works.

The book has 192 pages and includes 58 poems and songs and the author is a woman, and a very smart one too! Ann is in fact a well-known Scots language scholar and also collaborated with Sheila Mullen in our The Bairns O Adam book. We held the launch with a talk and slideshow by Ann about the book and how it came about, on 25th January 2014 in the very cottage at Alloway where Burns was born. It finished with impromptu singing by the whole audience and was a proper event to be remembered and so poignant being in the place where it all started.

Back to the sales pitch! The retail price is a competitive £13.95 – a small price to pay for the best of a lifetime’s work presented beautifully.

The Essential Robert Burns

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