Robert Burns


Robert Burns

Like other works in the first series of English Men of Letters, Shairp's 1879 biography of Robert Burns (1759–96) is a work of both history and literary criticism that can be used as an entry point to a wider study of its subject. Literary scholar John Campbell Shairp (1819–85) was born in Linlithgowshire and educated at Oxford. His publications include the essay collection Culture and Religion (1870) and Studies in Poetry and Philosophy (1868), both of which ran to multiple editions. In 1877 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and held that chair in conjunction with the principalship of the United College of St Andrews until his death. With the insights of a historian and a poet, Shairp explores Burns' life through places lived in and travelled to, before turning to the 'characters, poems, and songs' of a poet widely admired in the late Victorian period.

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