Nigel Leask

‘Landlowper-like Stravaguin’: Robert Burns’s Epistolary Travel Writing in 1787

The titular quotation is derived from one of Burns’s few letters in full Scots, dispatched to Willie Nicol from Carlisle on 1st June 1787, describing his tours of the Scottish and English Borders. Much of our sense of Burns’s Borders and Highland Tours is derived from the fragmentary descriptive notes composed while on the road, but letters written on tour also offer an important resource for understanding his motives in travelling, as well as some of the places and people he encountered during his summer and autumn excursions of 1787. In this paper, I will discuss Burns’ tour letters both in relation to the verse, song and journals entries which they supplement, and also to epistolary travel accounts of Scotland by other writers during the romantic period.

Professor Nigel Leask, University of Glasgow, Scotland