Robert Burns, the Tinder Heart

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Sutton Pub., 1996 - 299 pagine
Robert Burns' attitude to love has been the subject of controversy for two centuries. Though the catalyst for much of his poetry, his sex life has often been denied, glossed over, even bowdlerized out of recognition. In this new study, Hugh Douglas has sought out the truth about Burns to show, behind the usual portrayal, a man who was much less secure than his actions suggest, one for whom sex was an act of rebellion as well as of love. His peasant background was a shaping force in his attitude to women. Though amorous love was the impulse which drove his to verse, his love for his children usually transcended that for their mothers. Burns called himself an 'extravagant prodigal of affection', and Hugh Douglas here looks anew at that extravagance which shaped Burns' life and poetry. He traces his relationship with women from a loving apprenticeship at his mother's knee to Jean Armour, his loyal, supportive wife. He also examines Burns' many amorous adventures: Nelly Kilpatrick, his harvest-field partner, who first inspired him to write; Highland Mary Campbell; the enigma of 'E'; Peggy Chalmers, who rejected him; Clarinda, who always held back; and Maria Riddell, who came nearest to being his intellectual equal.

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