Soviet Press Citations on the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Burns (1959)


  • Dmitry N. Zhatkin , Tatiana A. Yashina


The article is the first to systematize and comprehend journalistic responses to the poetry works of Robert
Burns, published in the Soviet periodicals in 1959 and dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the Scottish poet.
In a generalizing article written by A.A. Anikst «People's Poet», published in № 35 of the newspaper
«Izvestia» for 1959, widely known information about the creative works of the Scottish poet is given, and the
emphasis is put on the international recognition of his poetry. A.A. Anikst raises questions about the origins of
the songs of R. Burns, which reflected the daily life of the Scottish people, their troubles and aspirations, the
temperament of the highlanders and their inexhaustible desire for independence. According to the author of the
article, the work of R. Burns is distinguished by the variety of styles and lyrical melody which are inherited
from folklore. A.A. Anikst also draws attention to the progressive ideas of the Scottish singer, his
independence, commitment to the ideas of revolution and universal brotherhood. According to A.A. Anikst,
that is what caused the persistent interest to Burns's works on from poets and translators in pre-revolutionary
and Soviet Russia, especially S.Ya. Marshak, who managed to make Burns accessible to the general reader. In
an article written by I.M.Katarsky, «A Pure Spring of Poetry», published in the «Literary Newspaper» at the
same year, on the contrary, the phenomenon of extraordinary persistent recognition and love of the Scottish
people to Burns’s works for centuries is emphasized. Citing examples of the caring attitude of ordinary Scots
to every single work of the great poet, the author of the article writes about Burns’s spiritual connection with
his compatriots, his great love for his native spaces, the desire to serve ordinary people, to sing about their life
with all difficulties and hardships. The article by I.M.Katarsky also talked about the recognition of the poetical
works of the great Scotsman by many classic British and American poets, some evidence of the popularity of
his poetry in Russia was given. Another publication, dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the birth of R.
Burns, was an article entitled as «Robert Burns» prepared by R M. Samarin, published in the second issue of
the journal «Soviet Union» for 1959. This article tells about the difficult fate of the Scottish poet, who was born in a simple peasant family and forced to earn for his bread with hard peasant work, saving time for
reading books and writing his own lyric works. According to R.M.Samarin, the genius of Burns poetry lies in
its simplicity and genre proximity to folk songs; this led to the extraordinary recognition of Burns’s creativity
by compatriots, inhabitants of Scotland. Considering R. Burns as a poet, whose work was fully reflected in his
complicated era, the author of the article pointed to the citizenship, patriotism of the poet’s works, the lack of
desire to find compromise with the ruling circles in favor of their interests. To the facts that emphasize the
nationality of Burns, R.M.Samarin attributes the poet’s ability to take the side of simple peasants, expressing
endless optimism and hope for a brighter future in the descriptions of their difficult life. Burns's penetrating
lyricism led many composers to set his poems to music, and also attracted the attention of translators who
recreated his images in many languages of the world. It was a constant connection with a simple working
people, reflections on equality and freedom from oppression of the rich, according to R.M.Samarin, that made
the works of the Scottish poet attractive to the Soviet reader, who got an opportunity to get acquainted with
Burns’s creative works thanks to the tireless work of the talented poet and translator S.Ya. Marshak..


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2020-11-29 — Updated on 2020-11-30


How to Cite

Dmitry N. Zhatkin , Tatiana A. Yashina. (2020). Soviet Press Citations on the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Burns (1959). PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt / Egyptology, 17(6), 695 - 702. Retrieved from (Original work published November 29, 2020)