Robert Burns book project awarded £1m grant

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Academics say the project marks "a seismic shift" in Burns studies

A Scottish university has been given £1m to produce the first complete scholarly edition of the works of Robert Burns.

Glasgow University's Centre for Robert Burns Studies will publish six volumes over the next eight years, with another six to follow in the next decade.

They will include The Oxford Handbook to Robert Burns and The Collected Prose of Robert Burns.

The work will be funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The £1m award follows an Oxford University Press (OUP) contract which the university secured two years ago to produce the work.

The project - Editing Robert Burns for the 21st Century - will involve a team of five literary scholars at Glasgow led by Dr Gerry Carruthers, a leading international Burns expert.

Dr Carruthers said the project marked "a seismic shift" in Burns studies.

He said: "We now have the platform to assert Burns's status as a major Romantic-period artist alongside the likes of William Wordsworth and John Keats."

New editions

The Glasgow OUP edition will feature the bard's prose works, his letters, poems, songs and other miscellaneous writing.

Two new editions of Burns's prose works and his songs for James Johnson's The Scots Musical Museum and George Thomson's Original Scottish Airs will be published.

Alongside these editions, newly commissioned performances will be produced and uploaded online.

It is hoped the first volume will be ready for publication late next year.

The funding award follows the launch last month of a free mobile phone application developed by the Scottish government to give instant access to the complete works of the national bard.

It also comes after the first minister's call for all school children visit the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway.

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