Revising Robert Burns and Ulster

Literature, religion and politics, c.1770–1920

Frank Ferguson & Andrew R. Holmes, editors

Hardback €49.50
Catalogue Price: €55.00
ISBN: 978-1-84682-197-4
August 2009. 200pp.

‘This edited collection of essays offers a compelling “revision” of the relationship between Burns and Ulster, with intriguing, well-researched analyses of his influence upon practising poets and Ulster culture more generally … The essay on commemorating and collecting Burns in the north of Ireland from 1844–1902 by Ferguson, Erskine and Roger Dixon presents perhaps the most compelling revision of Burns’s literary and cultural legacy in Ulster … By promoting greater awareness of the complex nature of Burns’s literary and cultural influence, the editors and contributors to Revising Robert Burns and Ulster offer a salient “re-evaluation of Burns in Ulster that confronts historical and contemporary myths and offers a more balanced rendering of his reputation , achievement and legacy”. It is to be hoped that the volume’s valuable revisions of Burns’s reception will spur on other critical reappraisals o the poet’s pervasive legacy in other places and times’, Corey E. Andrews, Studies in Hogg and his world (2014).

‘In Irish-Scottish studies, and particularly in the more localised terrain of Ulster and Scotland, Burns is clearly a key figure, a crossover or hinge figure, in the way that James Connolly is, that other great Scottish republican who knew the north of Ireland well and understood the complexity of Celtic connections. Revising Robert Burns and Ulster is a collection that speaks to that complexity … the eight chapters collected here take the reader through questions of commemoration, language, literary form, politics and religion, showing the degree to which Anglo-Irish and Anglo-Scottish relations were shaped and reshaped … the editors’ introduction is brief but bold … Overall, this is a terrific and timely collection … This volume is an important addition to the Ulster and Scotland series and general editors John Wilson and William Kelly are doing a grand job in presiding over such a vital strand of scholarship', Willy Maley, Irish Studies Review (2012).

‘This elegant volume of essays opens with a subtle critical repositioning of the “protean” Robert Burns within the networks of Irish literary and cultural history: “protean”, suggest the editors, because the Ayrshire poet – long valued as a monumental presence in an Ulster literary inheritance – should properly be recognised as a variable quantity; an inconsistent if nonetheless distinctive model for an Irish literati … Frank Ferguson is to be congratulated together with his co-editor for producing a tight, well-organised and scholarly book', Eve Patten, Irish Historical Studies (2010).

‘Burns’ close Ulster links are traced in this academic book in eight detailed chapters and the book serves as yet another meaningful expression and appreciation of his work, in this the 250th year from his birth’, Billy Kennedy, News Letter (11 July 2009).

‘… this is another informative contribution to discussion of the thorny issue of Ulster-Scots', Books Ireland (September 2009).

‘Throughout 2009, the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, there was a renewed interest in the life and works of the author considered by many to be Scotland’s national poet … this wide-ranging collection often rejects Burns. His enormity is accepted but questioned, while his influence is put in strict contextual bounds … the book actually revises the critical construction of Northern Irish literature between the late 18th and early 20th centuries. With its multi-faceted approach, it is an important development in the study of Ulster writers and writing', Rhona Brown, History Scotland (March/April 2010).

‘This collection of essays represents a significant break-through in the emerging field of Ulster-Scots studies. Revising Robert Burns and Ulster gathers work by emerging and established scholars to demonstrate the vitality and plurality of Burns’s contexts and legacies in Ireland. The volume is carefully edited and the chapters combine to offer an important new perspective on both Irish and Scottish writing in the long 19th century … [this book] is an important contribution to the study of both Irish and Scottish literature. Its contents will provide future reflection on the Irish writing of this period with vital new perspectives', Crawford Gribben, Scottish Literary Review (Spring 2011).

‘One of the most significant achievements of Revising Robert Burns and Ulster is to bring forward the intricacy of the cultural relationship between Ulster and Scotland and to demonstrate the diversity of the Scottish influence within it from the late 18th to the early 20th century', Barry Sloan, Victorian Studies (Summer 2011).