Burns Now Kenneth Simpson
These essays penetrate behind the Burns of myth to the reality. Burns is identified as a complex individual and a sophisticated literary artist. Far from being Henry Mackenzie's "Heaven-taught ploughman", Burns is shown to be widely and deeply read and adept in the synthesis of the native Scottish tradition and English neoclassicism. Various contributors acknowledge the importance of the creative imagination for Burns, appropriately since he saw himself as one of "the harum-scarum sons of imagination and whim". Something of the richness and diversity of Burns' achievement is reflected in the range of these essays which focus not only on the poems and songs but also the broader social and cultural context, the responses of Scottish writers to Burns, his role in the Scottish quest for identity, and the ways in which he has been represented both in print and on the screen. This book shows from a variety of perspectives what Burns means to us today. Here the best of contemporary Burns scholarship becomes accessible to a broad readership.