Robert Burns and the Hellish Legion

By John Burnett

Format: Paperback

Several of Robert Burns' poems deal with the supernatural. This book intends to help celebrate the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth, looks at the world of himself and his contemporaries and tries to understand their fears and emotions, with particular reference to 'Tam o Shanter'.

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National Museums of Scotland Enterprises - Publishing

NMS publishes a wide variety of books relating to history, culture, natural science etc and museum exhibitions.

Product Description


Devils, witches and evil - the insubstantial but terrifying world of the supernatural as it was seen by Robert Burns and his contemporaries is examined in this new book, brought out for the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth. Several of Burns' poems dealt with the supernatural, the most famous of which, "Tam o Shanter", is examined in detail. It is from this poem that the book's title comes: 'And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!" And in an instant all was dark And scarcely had he Maggie rallied When out the hellish legion sallied.' In contrast with the 'other world' was the everyday lives of the country people and the nature of the material world in which they lived; the book also examines this and the changes that were taking place in Burns' time.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint National Museums of Scotland Enterprises - Publishing
Publication Date 14 Oct 2009
ISBN 9781905267316
Number of Pages 160

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Press Reviews

'The "hellish legion" referred to in the title of this informative and friendly book, is that body of witches, ghosts, satanic sprites and anything else devilish that might have informed the lives of Robert Burns and his fellow Ayrshire men and women, and further, his own epic poem, Tam o' Shanter. ... It's possible, then, to read Tam o' Shanter also as a nostalgic piece, a recording of a way of looking at the world that was passing by.' The Herald '... does an excellent job in introducing the man and the places in which he lived.' The Folklore Society

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