Burns the Radical: Poetry and Politics in Late Eighteenth-century Scotland

Liam Angus McIlvanney

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    In this text, the author looks behind the trivializing image of the "heav'n-taught ploughman" to uncover the intellectual context of the poet's political radicalism. He reveals Burns as a sophisticated political poet whose work draws on a range of intellectual resources: the democratic, contactarian ideology of Scottish Peresbyterianism, the English and Irish "Real Whig" tradition, and the political theory of the Scottish Enlightenment. Throwing light on the poet's education and his early reading, Liam McIlvanney provides detailed readings of Burn's major poems. The book also offers research on Burns's links with Irish poets and radicals, providing a radical interpretation of the man who is coming to be recognized as the poet laureate of the radical Enlightenment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEast Linton
    PublisherTuckwell Press Ltd
    Number of pages220
    ISBN (Print)1862321779, 9781862321779
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


    • poetry
    • poets
    • Burns


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