Date 1877-10-15
Publication Academy
Topic WMR reviews Douglas's "Burns"
AP display
RA display
Subject literature
Keywords Burns
  ↳ notes vs. glossary
  ↳ 7 new works
Standards Clarity
  ↳ completeness
  ↳ accuracy
Notes 7 new works
  ↳ glossary vs. notes
  ↳ WBS ref.

Annotation details

77 September 15 Academy


Douglas's "Burns."


Rossetti, William M. "The Royal Academy Exhibition." Academy (September 15, 1877): 263. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


Generally, Rossetti finds this collection to be a creditable job of collecting and editing on the part of William Scott Douglas, whom Rossetti acknowledges as "the very best man living for the editing of Burns. He also describes the appearance of the volume, citing its "very handsome externals," also citing the appropriateness of the dedication of the volume to Thomas Carlyle.

Rossetti marks this volume as the first full collection of all of Burns's work, including seven never before published items.

He mentions William Scott Bell's Burns collection in progress, wondering where it has gone as Rossetti has not heard any news of it in years. Rossetti carries on an active and lifelong correspondence with Bell (Letters 11, 12, 22, 25, 29, 32, 36, 45, 49, 51, 58, 62, 72, 76, 81, 91, 97, 100, 110, 114, 117, 120, 124, 128, 135, 174, 199, 267, 288, 290, 291, 292, 294, 295, 324, 415, 420, 463). Rossetti specified Bell as one of his inner circle of Cheyne Walk associates.

Rossetti makes an interesting point about the merits of footnotes compared to glossaries. He says that most Scotts, whom he believes would be the primary readers of the collection, would not require notes on every page; further, adding them consistently throughout the collection will result in much repetition, whereas a glossary would be a reference available as many or as few times as required without adding to the individual page each time a word requiring explanation appeared. As he says, with footnotes, "Probably one word gets repeated twenty to thirty times in the course of the volume."

Rossetti also notes the frustration of the verses not having published line numbers, particularly so when the footnotes refer to line numbers. He concludes, nonetheless, that the volume is an excellent collection and worthy of the attention of scholars and readers of Burns.




Burns, Douglas, editor, Thomas Carlyle, glossary vs. notes

Standards of Judgment:

Clearness, completeness, good editing

Rhetoric and tone:

definitive, evaluative


Douglas, Thomas Carlyle, Burns, Bell-Scott

Works Cited

Rossetti, William Michael. Some Reminiscences of William Michael Rossetti. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner, 1906. Print.

---. Selected Letters of William Michael Rossetti. Ed. Roger Peattie. University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1990. Print.