After teaching and writing about the poetry and prose of Scotland’s favourite son, Professor Robert Crawford penned a new biography of Robert Burns to reveal the man behind works of art like A Red, Red Rose and Ae Fond Kiss.
Introducing the Author
Robert Crawford has been teaching Modern Scottish Literature at St. Andrews University since 1989. He is known as one of the founders of the English Association and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Crawford is also recognized for his contributions to English and Scottish poetry and books which he authored or co-authored with famed professors of literature.
However, despite his numerous publications on different topics, his main interest remained the Scottish bard Robert Burns. In 2008, Crawford teamed up with Christopher MacLachalan to create his first book on Burns, The Best Laid Schemes: Selected Poetry and Prose of Robert Burns. Later, he announced that he is in the process of writing a biography of Robert Burns that will focus on his life and work. Finally, The Bard was released on January 25, 2009, the 25th anniversary of the Bard’s birth.
An Overview of The Bard
In this biography of Robert Burns, Crawford uncovered the aspects which awakened the Scottish poet intellectually, therefore turning him from a farm labourer into the national poet of Scotland. The author points out how the American and French revolutions and the conditions of the Scottish society at the time brought out the bard in him.
In addition, in the Belles chapter, the author highlights Burns the lover. Crawford explains how the numerous women who crossed Burns’ path helped inspire numerous works of art. For example, the Scottish Poet fell in love with Mary Campbell, for which he wrote The Highland Lassie O, Highland Mary and To Mary in Heaven.
Crawford has delved deep into Burns’ personality and revealed the poet’s smart, arrogant and seductive nature. However, he doesn’t portray these negatively. In fact, through Burns’ poems and letters, Crawford attempts to show the world that had the Bard not possessed these traits, his works would have been bland and not as famed as they are today.
The Bard is an important scholarly synthesis on Robert Burns. However, it isn’t strictly academic as it mixes low and high culture to provide a contemporary feel. As a result, anyone reading this detailed biography of Robert Burns will discover why the poet’s literary contributions are worth thorough examination.