Robert Burns’ ability to spontaneously produce musical and poignant verse earned him the title of “Scotland’s Bard,” and ensured that his legacy would remain especially close to that nation’s people and their descendants. FSU Special Collections & Archives’ exhibit, “In his ‘Great Shadow’: Robert Burns’ Legacy,” explores not only the lyrical finesse that led to our remembrance of him but especially how he is remembered.
Items created by Burns Clubs for memorial celebrations evince the long history of social responses to Burns’ greatness; drawing on the Scottish and John McKay Shaw Collections, the exhibit especially highlights the tradition of Burns Suppers, which are still celebrated around the world. Like memorial celebrations, poetic homages to Burns began almost at the moment of his death. This exhibit explores these poetic echoes, from Sir Walter Scott to current Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay. Experience firsthand the social and poetic legacies of Burns -- what Keats called “his Great Shadow” -- through beautiful historical items from FSU’s Special Collections & Archives.