Robert Burns and twentieth-century war

Goldie, David; Carruthers, Gerard, ed. (2024) Robert Burns and twentieth-century war. In: The Oxford Handbook of Robert Burns. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 479–492. ISBN 9780191995590 (

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This chapter explores the reception of Burns’s work in the UK in the First and Second World Wars, and the uses to which Burns was put, as both writer and cultural figure, by those who supported and those who opposed both wars. The chapter suggests that Burns was a highly salient and significant figure in the First World War, visible as a model for emulation and inspiration to poets, political campaigners, and propagandists alike. Such salience was diminished in the Second World War, and the chapter explores the reasons for this lessened influence, among them the effects of the Scottish Literary Renaissance, the rise of visual and aural media, and alterations in the Scottish political climate.