Robert Burns, the Excise Service & Politics in a time of Revolution

6 February 2018, 2.00-3.00pm, General Register House

Robert Burns, the Excise Service and Politics in a time of Revolution

Gerard Carruthers, Francis Hutcheson Professor of Scottish Literature (University of Glasgow)

Centred on recently identified documents at the National Records of Scotland, this talk discusses Burns’s place in the Excise Service during revolutionary times. Was the poet a willing government employee or was he a reluctant, neutered individual, deliberately de-barbed by the powers that be? What were the cultural and intellectual contexts afforded to Burns as a civil servant? What kind of relationships did he have with Excise colleagues and how did his career intersect with his creative and family lives? Following the French Revolution and the Excise service enquiry into the poet’s political beliefs, this talk will discuss the nature of Burn’s views and how these were expressed during the turbulent 1790s.

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First published: 10 January 2018

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