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 variety of untapped sources — from rediscovered poetry by Burns to manuscript journals, correspondence, interviews and oratory by his contemporaries — this new biography presents the remarkable life, loves, and struggles of the great poet. 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. (pb)