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lunababymoonchild

Robert Burns

As is usual at this time of year there is much in the Scottish press about Robert Burns, with Burns Day on the 25 January, but this year it's the 250th Anniversay of his birth so there is more than usual mention of him.

I'll read a little poetry and toast his memory, I think.

Luna
Evie

I am not much of a fan of his poetry, but I have bought haggis anyway!  It's the only time of the year it's on general release in England (I'm sure you can probably get it in fancy shops, but I only ever see it around Burns Night).  And I have a plentiful supply of whisky.  So I will eat and drink in his honour, if only because he gives us the annual excuse to consume such goodies!

Sorry, that's not very literary is it...ahem...
lunababymoonchild

Evie wrote:
So I will eat and drink in his honour, if only because he gives us the annual excuse to consume such goodies!

Sorry, that's not very literary is it...ahem...


Sounds good to me

Luna
Caro

Burns is celebrated widely in Dunedin, near where I live.  There is a big statue to him in the middle of the city and they have the haggis and poetry readings and extra bits for this year.  One of his relatives - uncle, I think - was an early founder here and one of his daughters married a doctor and lived in my area.  They had 12 kids so there are descendants around here.  

I find the language in his work rather difficult generally - unless I know it well, of course.  He must be one of the few poets apart from hymnsters whose works have become part of the general wider public's culture.

Cheers, Caro.
Castorboy

I remember on a visit to an uncle in Ayr being taken on the Burns Trail to Alloway and Tarbolton. I must have been enthusiastic about the tour because I was advised to read the novels of James Barke. There is five in the sequence under the overall title of Immortal Memory. The first is called The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
One of the ways Barke tells the story is to describe a meeting of Burns and a girl and then quotes from the ensuing poem. As you know there are many meetings and many poems.love10 and more!
lunababymoonchild

Wow, I didn't know that Caro.  I find the language of Burns challenging at times myself even although I'm Scottish and had it quoted to me when I was a child - only the famous bits make sense to me, the more obscure I have to work at.

Castorboy, I had no idea anybody had written novels about Burns.  I have been to Alloway and on the Burns trail and was only impressed by the bow backed bridge.

Luna
county_lady

Here you can listen to The Prince of Wales reading My Heart's in the Highlands. Rolling Eyes

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7846874.stm
lunababymoonchild

Thanks Count_Lady, I've never heard it like that before, but it wasn't bad.

Have now got my vegetarian haggis - which is a contradiction in terms - and my tatties and neeps so I'll be doing the whole ritual (without bagpipes!).

Luna
county_lady

Laughing It sounded rather staid but improved as he finished with more feeling.
Green Jay

Castorboy wrote:
I remember on a visit to an uncle in Ayr being taken on the Burns Trail to Alloway and Tarbolton. I must have been enthusiastic about the tour because I was advised to read the novels of James Barke. There is five in the sequence under the overall title of Immortal Memory. The first is called The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
One of the ways Barke tells the story is to describe a meeting of Burns and a girl and then quotes from the ensuing poem. As you know there are many meetings and many poems.love10 and more!


There's a recent film with this title but it's about Ireland in 1920s. Haven't seen it. Is there a connection?
Castorboy

No Green Jay there isn't - it confused me at first because I really thought they were going to film the Barke novels.
Castorboy

lunababymoonchild wrote:

Castorboy, I had no idea anybody had written novels about Burns.  I have been to Alloway and on the Burns trail and was only impressed by the bow backed bridge.
Luna

I don't know if you live in Edinburgh Luna but the fourth novel, all 670 pages, is about his 17 months there and is called The Wonder Of All The Gay World. It's even got a map on the inside cover showing Edinburgh streets at the time.
lunababymoonchild

I live in Glasgow, Castorboy but it's not at all far from Ediburgh with which I am sufficiently familiar.

Luna
Green Jay

I was watching the programme on Burns last night, presented by Andrew O'Hagan. Well, I was half watching and half doing something else. I wish I'd paid it more attention because while I could appreciate what O'Hagan was saying about Burns' ideas about freedom, brotherhood of man, and cutting through hypocrisy, etc the celebration of his fine feelings did seem quite a masculine viewpoint on these things. Burns might have felt trapped by poverty and small-town horizons but I couldn't help feeling all the lovely lassies he left trapped by the same and his numerous illegitimate babbies were in a much worse situation. But Burns was the romantic hero and there didn't seem to be any criticism of him. But maybe I'm doing the programme a disservice because I was busy on my homework at the same time!
lunababymoonchild

I saw that too Green Jay and it did seem to be male oriented.  Then again, Scottish society was male oriented in the 1700's.  There does seem to be no criticism of him for how he behaved regarding the lassies, I have to say, but then he died young and wrote much so perhaps that's why.

Luna
Green Jay

Oh, good, Luna, I'm glad you felt that too, and it wasn't just my bitter 'n twisted 20th (shld says 21st) century feminist feelings surfacing unwarranted.

Scottish society, indeed all society, in 17thC was male oriented, but Andrew O'Hagan was talking now. I felt it fitted a bit too neatly into the image of the male artist who is allowed to go skittering through his personal life leaving fall-out on all sides - is indeed admired for it -  being above criticism if he produces Art. I am talking from a position of almost complete ignorance about Burns  Embarassed - and I was quite taken with his leftist leanings - but the few things I have heard about him always seem to come with a bit of a smirk about what a lad he was, all those swooning girls and his numerous babies avowing to his Scotstatsic testosterone levels.

The programme mentioned he and Jean Armour being brought up before the church for immoral behaviour when she'd had one of his children, and he did go on about her being the love of his life, and he returned and had more kids and married her - but why didn't he marry her first of all? How was it for her to be left behind in their small community? A O'H didn't seem to care to comment - or if he did, I'm sorry, I missed it - I was head-down in my essay.  All this stuff about Burns not wanting to be constrained, understandable in a free spirit, but his hatred of hypocrisy didn't seem to embrace (no pun intended) his romantic partners. It seemed to be about money at times: he was too poor to marry, but how could an unmarried mother support herself and not be worse off, financially, morally, socially? Not covered. I guess that's another programme entirely and doesn't fit with a 'Celebration' of Burns.
lunababymoonchild

To be fair to Andrew O'Hagan that particular programme was one of a series of three (I think) so he wouldn't cover the entirety of Burns life in the one episode.  

But you are right, Burns attitude to women and the fathering of children, legitimate or not is dealt with with a snigger and a 'boys will be boys' kind of attitude.  Then again he did write of his experiences so it is connected somewhat to his art - My Love is Like a Red, Red, Rose, for instance - but hardly connected to paying the bills or leaving a 'lassie' stranded.  I don't think that the women involved were entirely innocent victims, though and then, as now, prepared to take risks to be near someone like him.

As for what happened to Jean Armour Wiki states it thus : Jean Armour   The last paragraph of which tells a little of what became of her after his death.

Luna
Green Jay

Thanks for that info, Luna. How fascinating. And I take it all back, well, some of it. I didn't realise that the programme was just one of three parts. Shows I wasn't paying attention.

I know in English rural communities working class couples were often not married until a baby was on the way, and that was seen as OK. And that in those times sex = babies, so dalliances were never without strings, at least for the women, which is why they were always more constrained than the men, even though it's the latter who tended to take on the mantle of feeling "trapped". Oh, here I go again. Fascinating that Jean Armour had two sets of twins. Poor woman, what a thing, in those days.

Well, I know a lot more about Robert Burns now than I did a few days ago.
Castorboy

Green Jay wrote:
Oh, good, Luna, I'm glad you felt that too, and it wasn't just my bitter 'n twisted 20th (shld says 21st) century feminist feelings surfacing unwarranted.

Scottish society, indeed all society, in 17thC was male oriented, but Andrew O'Hagan was talking now. I felt it fitted a bit too neatly into the image of the male artist who is allowed to go skittering through his personal life leaving fall-out on all sides - is indeed admired for it -  being above criticism if he produces Art. I am talking from a position of financially, morally, socially? Not covered. I guess that's another programme entirely and doesn't fit with a 'Celebration' of Burns.

As a father of three girls I agree with your comments but artists of all types have always been allowed such social freedom. I don't mind reading about them but they wouldn't be desirable sons-in-law!
lunababymoonchild

Castorboy wrote:
As a father of three girls I agree with your comments but artists of all types have always been allowed such social freedom. I don't mind reading about them but they wouldn't be desirable sons-in-law!


Exactly.

I feel that we cannot really apply the standards of social convention that we have now in the 21st century to the 18th century.  I am by no means excusing Burns behaviour in any way but in 1758 life was so different as to be pretty much unrecognisable to us now.

Anyway, here is a link for those who find the broad scots dialect of Burns day - in which he wrote -  'translated' into english : The Best of Robert Burns in English. Personally, I think it loses a great deal in translation but then I've been brought up listening to the original so am used to hearing the broad scots.

Luna
Castorboy

Caro wrote:
Burns is celebrated widely in Dunedin, near where I live.  There is a big statue to him in the middle of the city and they have the haggis and poetry readings and extra bits for this year.  One of his relatives - uncle, I think - was an early founder here and one of his daughters married a doctor and lived in my area.  They had 12 kids so there are descendants around here.  

Not to be outdone Auckland has its historical literary associations – a direct descendant of John Shakespeare, William’s brother, recently celebrated her 107th birthday. occasion4       She likes to talk a lot but nothing about any reading she does!
lunababymoonchild

Castorboy wrote:
She likes to talk a lot but nothing about any reading she does!


I reckon that, at 107 she gets to do exactly what she wants!  Laughing  Especially on her birthday.

Luna

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