Drawing on extensive scholarship and the poet's own inimitable letters, this edition offers a wealth of information on Burns's life, the hardships of his early days, his political beliefs, his hatred of injustice, and his fate as a writer too often sentimentalized by biographers and critics. Through his poetry, and as if for the first time, we see Burns as a radical figure in a British as well as a Scottish context, the peer of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Byron in the revolutionary and repressive world of the 1790s. Containing recently attributed and never-before-published poems demonstrating that the poet's political sympathies were more radical than he could safely put his name to in public, The Canongate Burns also includes the sexually scandalous verses known as "The Merry Muses," originally circulated only in handwritten copies. This major and definitive edition offers vitally fresh insights into the irreverent spirit and the democratic convictions of Scotland's greatest poet. "A magnificent and definitive work of scholarship." -- Colm Toibin, The Independent "The Canongate Burns is a very fine edition, and the long introduction ... is alone worth the cover price." -- Andrew O'Hagan, The Scotsman "This scholarly and comprehensive edition of his poems puts those much-loved fragments of wit and whimsy in their full context." -- The Sunday Telegraph
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