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The Parritch and the Partridge: The Reception of Robert Burns in Germany

A History- 2nd Revised and Augmented Edition


Rosemary Anne Selle

This book sets out to explore the reception of Scotland’s best-loved writer Robert Burns in Germany, beginning with Burns’s contemporaries in a German state and at a time when instant international fame of foreign writers was yet to develop. The author traces Burns’s growing popularity and, for instance, demonstrates how a single line from a foreigner’s poem could become the motto of a generation of German revolutionists. Many of Burns’s well-known poems do not only figure in this first part but are also the subject of specific case studies in the second. Here works such as «Tam O’ Shanter» or «A red, red rose» are analysed in translation through the ages. The author’s comprehensive work is complemented by a short research update on the reception of Burns.


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Author’s Preface (2013)


This book is new – though not completely. The main body of the text was con- ceived and written just over thirty years ago at the English Department of the University of Heidelberg where, as a British student and tutor in English Stud- ies, I began to collect translations of Robert Burns’s work into German. My in- terest in his German reception developed into a doctoral project supervised by Professor Horst Meller. I completed my research in 1981 with the thesis entitled “The Parritch and the Partridge: The Reception of Robert Burns in Germany. A History” and was awarded my doctorate that year. The thesis remained un- published, which was common at the time. So where did my work spend the next thirty years? The typescript slumbered as a specimen copy in German university, regional and national libraries. From time to time it was discovered and read, borrowed and quoted, but it was little known beyond Germany. In 1988 it provided much of the material for the illus- trated bilingual Robert Burns: Liebe und Freiheit. Gedichte und Lieder, edited by Rudi Camerer, Horst Meller, Joachim Utz and myself and published by Lam- bert Schneider. The publication of a second edition in 1997 showed that interest in Burns was running high at a time of political and social change and upheaval in Europe and elsewhere. My thesis was awakened from its library slumbers in autumn 2012, when a group of English Studies students at the University of Göttingen, with hearts and...

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