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Robert Burns & 18th Century Scotland

A rapid reference guide to online and selected other sources about Robert Burns

Some Essays on Individual Poems

Some Essays on Broader Critical Topics

Some General Critical Books

Carol McGuirk, Reading Robert Burns: Texts, Contexts, Transformations (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014):  PR 4338 .M297 2014

Corey Andrews, The Genius of Scotland: the Cultural Production of Robert Burns, 1785-1834 (Leiden: SCROLL/Brill Rodopi, 2015): PR 4338 .A64 2015

Nigel Leask, Robert Burns and Pastoral: Poetry and Improvement in Late Eighteenth-century Scotland (2009):  PR 4338 .L43 2010 

Gerard Carruthers, Robert Burns (Tavistock: Northcote House, 2006): PR 4338 .C39 2006

Kenneth Simpson, Robert Burns (Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 1994):  PR 4332 .S56 1994  

Carol McGuirk, Robert Burns and the Sentimental Era (Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1985; East Linton, Tuckwell, 1997): PR4342.S44 M38 1997

Thomas Crawford, Burns: A Study of the Poems and Songs (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1960):  PR4338 .C6 

David Daiches, Robert Burns (New York: Rinehart, 1950): PR 4331 .D25

Essay Collections about Burns


Gerard Carruthers, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Robert Burns (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2024).

Jennifer Stock, ed, Patrick Scott, advsr, Robert Burns, 1759-1796: Literary Criticism 1400-1800, vol. 311 (BloomfieldHills, MI: Gale/Cengage, 2023).

Gerard Carruthers, ed., The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Burns (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2009): PR 4338 .E35 2009

Johnny Rodger & Gerard Carruthers, eds., Fickle Man: Robert Burns in the 21st Century (Dingwall: Sandstone, 2009): PR4331 .F49 2009

G. Ross Roy, ed., Robert Burns and America (Columbia, SC: Thomas Cooper Library; Kirkcaldy: Akros, 2001): PR4329 .R42 2001

Carol McGuirk, ed., Critical Essays on Robert Burns (New York: G. K. Hall, 1998): PR4338 .C84 1998)

G. Ross Roy, ed., Robert Burns [Studies in Scottish Literature, 30] (Columbia, SC: Studies in Scottish Literature, 1998): full text available at

Kenneth Simpson, ed., Love and Liberty: Robert Burns, A Bicentenary Celebration (East Linton: Tuckwell, 1997): PR 4338 .L59 1997

Robert Crawford, ed., Robert Burns and Cultural Authority (Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press, 1997):  PR4338 .R55 1997

Kenneth Simpson, ed., Burns Now (Edinburgh: Canongate Academic, 1994):  PR4331 .B87 1994 

R. D. S. Jack and Andrew Noble, eds., The Art of Robert Burns (London: Vision: New York: Barnes and Noble, 1982): PR4338 .A7 1982

Donald Low, ed., Critical Essays on Robert Burns (1975): PR4338 .C69

The Reader Strikes Back: Replies to Burns by Other Poets

See also: Douglas Gifford, ed., Addressing the Bard: twelve contemporary poets respond to Robert Burns (Scottish Poetry Library, 2009), with contributions by Meg Bateman, Robert Crawford, Carol Ann Duffy, Matthew Fitt, Seamus Heaney, W.N.Herbert, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Janet Paisley, James Robertson, Tim Turnbull, and Rab Wilson.

The Reception of Burns

Donald A. Low, ed., Robert Burns: the Critical Heritage (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974).

Paul Malgrati, Robert Burns and Modern Cultural Politics: The Bard of Contention, 1914-2014 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2023).

Corey E. Andrews, Inventing Scotland's Bard: The British Reception of Robert Burns, 1786-1836 (Columbia, SC: Scottish Literature Series, 2022)

Clark McGinn, The Burns Supper: A Comprehensive History (Edinburgh: Luath, 2019).

Arun Sood, Robert Burns and the United States of America, ... 1786-1866 (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Christopher A. Whatley, Immortal Memory: Burns and the Scottish People (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2016) [esp. on 19th century reception, 1800-1914]

Murray Pittock, ed., The Reception of Robert Burns in Europe (London: Bloomsbury, 2014): PR 4337 .R43 2014

David Sergeant and Fiona Stafford, eds., Burns and Other Poets (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013):  PR 4338 .B8 2012

Sharon Alker, Leith Davis, & Holly Faith Nelson, eds., Robert Burns and Transatlantic Culture (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012): PR 4338 .R563 2012

Murray Pittock, ed., Robert Burns in Global Culture (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2011): PR 4338 .R555 2011