Robert Burns Notes

  • Combination of dialect and standard English
    • Oscillates between Ayrshire and standard within poems
  • great fixation on sexuality and intimate relationships between men and women – the private sector pulled out into the public
  • criticized for this focus on love affairs, obscene, “cheap”, for supporting the French Revolution
  • Expression of physical love as a form of revolution/liberation from constraints
  • What is the difference between love poetry and erotic poetry


  • erotic poetry – has more to do with physicality and a certain level of sexuality
  • The Fornicator – argues for fornication (from personal experience)
    • very comical tone
    • argues common women are not as honorable as prostitutes and he is in good company with other fornicators
    • brings good results – children
  • The Holy Fair
    • rather shocking imagery of the hypocrisy of religion
      • exaggerated scenes of drinking, sex, lies, partying on the Holy Day relay this message
      • diction – describes the church service as a “show”

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