Sunday 19 August 2012

Editing Robert Burns website

The University of Glasgow's Centre for Robert Burns Studies recently  launched the first phase of its new website for the AHRC-funded project 'Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century'. The project will see the production of a new multi-volume edition of Burns's work, to be published by OUP, expected to take upwards of fifteen years to produce.

The  team behind this project seem keen to engage Burns scholars (and fans) in the editorial process, with the website featuring a blog which will be used explain editorial decisions, ask for responses, and perhaps even request information. This is definitely one to bookmark; it should be fascinating to see this project unfold as the first volumes are prepared for publication.

'Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century' is by no means only for serious Burns scholars. On the contrary, I think that this website could prove to be a valuable teaching resource. In my experience, students can be rather scared of Burns - at least initially - but there is plenty on this website that could be used to engage them and make Burns more accessible.

The site features a video archive that currently features a short film of Dr Kirsteen McCue speaking to Tam Cowan about the scholarly importance of Burns, and which I'm sure will be added to in the coming months and years. Another great feature of this website is its 'Song and Music' section, which aims to celebrate Burns as one of the most prolific songwriters and song collectors of all time.

Volumes two and three of the new edition seek to address this aspect of Burns's scholarly significance, and this will be enhanced by the commissioning of some new recordings of Burns's songs. In time (recording is due to start later in 2012), these will be made available for free download on the website, but in the meantime there are four recordings of Burns's songs performed by Kirsten Easdale and Gregor Lowry available to download for free which certainly bring Burns's words to life.

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