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The ​myth that has grown up around Robert Burns, Scotland’s greatest popular poet, has sometimes obscured his original poetic gifts.
The educated son of a poor cotter, Burns became known for his rustic background, his fraternity with the working man, his Jacobite loyalty and his amorous entanglements. Yet his contribution to literature is immense. His use of dialogue and colloquial speech is comparable to that of Chaucer and Byron, but is also uniquely his own. He liberated language, allowing freedom to the Romantic movement, and his use of old folk tunes enormously enhanced the Scottish musical tradition.
With imaginative zest he satirized the Scottish community and offered shrewd insight into human nature. Although he was supremely aware of local concerns – religion and politics in particular – his work transcends the parochial and is now admired internationally for its depth of vision.

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