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BURNS, Robert.

BURNS, Robert.

Rare books by Robert Burns, including first editions, copies in fine bindings, and handsome sets of his collected works.

Robert Burns (1759–1796), more familiarly Rabbie Burns, is widely recognised as Scotland’s national bard. For book collectors, by far his most important publication is the 240-page Kilmarnock Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, published in 1786 in an edition of just over 600 copies. This was followed by the Edinburgh edition of about 3,000 copies, published by subscription in 1787, and shortly afterwards by the first London edition, published by Cadell. Pirated editions also quickly appeared in Belfast, Dublin, Philadelphia, and New York.

After Burns's death several volumes of work that had circulated only in private during his lifetime appeared. James Currie's Works of Robert Burns, with an Account of his Life (1800) and Robert H. Cromek's Reliques of Robert Burns (1808) are the editions usually met with.

Burns was an important examplar to the Romantic poets, who were early literary pilgrims to the Burns country. He was read enthusiastically throughout the British empire and in America, and a network of Burns clubs sprang up not only in Scotland, but right around the world. Burns night is a familiar ritual wherever the Scots gather together. However Burns is one of those authors so extensively reprinted in the century after his death that, unless handsomely bound, his posthumous editions generally have relatively low commercial value in their own right.

Regularly stocked editions of Burns' works include The Complete Writings and the Large Paper Edition.

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