Reading Experience Database

Basic Search

Advanced Search

Record 21785

Reading Experience:

'No − my “Burns” is not done yet, it has led me so far afield that I cannot finish it ; every time I think I see my way to an end, some new game (or perhaps wild goose) starts up and away I go. And then again, to be plain, I shirk the work of the critical part, shirk it as a man shirks a long jump. It is awful to have to express and differentiate Burns, in a column or two. All the more as I’m going to write a book about it. "Ramsay, Fergusson and Burns: an Essay" (or "A Critical Essay" but then I’m going to give lives of the three gentlemen, only the gist of the book is the criticism) “by Robert Louis Stevenson, Advocate, MS., P.P.C., etc.” How’s that for cut and dry? And I [italics]could[end italics] write that book. Unless I deceive myself in a superior style, I could write it pretty adequately. I feel as if I was really in it, and knew the game thoroughly'.
Century: 1850-1899
Date: Until: Nov 1875
Country: Scotland
Time: n/a
Place: city: Edinburgh
county: Lothian
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Robert Louis Stevenson
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 13 Nov 1850
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: Writer
Religion: Uncommitted
Country of origin: Scotland
Country of experience: Scotland
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: Robert Fergusson
Title: Poems
Genre: Poetry, Also critical material on Fergusson.
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: There was an edition of Fergusson's poems published 1773.
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 21785  
Source - Print  
  Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
  Editor: Bradford A. Booth
  Title: The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, April 1874-July 1879
  Place of Publication: New Haven and London
  Date of Publication: 1994
  Vol: 2
  Page: 165
  Additional comments: Letter 424, To Sidney Colvin, [November 1875], [17 Heriot Row]. Co-editor Ernest Mehew. The material in square brackets has been added by the editors.

Citation: Robert Louis Stevenson, Bradford A. Booth (ed.), The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, April 1874-July 1879 (New Haven and London, 1994), 2, p. 165,, accessed: 24 June 2024

Additional comments:

The Reading Experience evidence seems related to the reading by RLS, in preparation for the projected book, of unspecified works by and on Allan Ramsay and Robert Fergusson as well as by and on Roberts Burns. On p. 165, the relevant part of the Editors’ Note to Letter 424 reads: “Robert Fergusson (1750-74), the Edinburgh poet acknowledged by Burns as ‘My elder brother in Misfortune, By far my elder brother in the Muse’ whose life ended tragically in a madhouse. RLS always felt a strong sense of kinship with him.”



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)