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Robert Burns starts blog

Robert Burns becomes part of the digital revolution as over 90 of his personal letters are set to be published online.

More than 90 letters written by Robert Burns are to be published online in the form of a blog.

The letters, dating from 1787 onwards, are being published by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) as the conservation charity prepares to begin work on a new museum to provide a fitting legacy to the bard's life.

The NTS says the letters reveal many sides to Burns and his character as he writes to friends, colleagues, literary magazines and others he encountered throughout his life.

The letters will appear online at burnsletters.wordpress.com on the dates they were originally written. Visitors will have the chance to leave their thoughts and comments underneath each newly added letter just like a contemporary blog.

NTS chairman Shonaig Macpherson said: "Placing Burns' letters online will give historians and the general public another fascinating insight into Burns, his work and his viewpoint of the times he lived in.

"In the period from 1787 to 1789 we see many sides of Burns in his letters. The great love poet can seem cold in his correspondence with friend Robert Ainslie, but he is then flowery in his love letters to Mrs Agnes McLehose - codename 'Clarinda' - while a more factual and reflective side is seen in other letters."

Fresh content will be placed online regularly until the new Robert Burns Birthplace Museum opens in July 2010. The National Trust still needs to raise a further £4million to realise the £21million cost of the new museum.

"One of the aims of the new museum is to show every side to Burns and these letters are an early way of people seeing how complex a character he truly was."

In his foreword to the site, David Hopes, the Project Curator for the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, explains: "Reading Burns in the prose of his letters is a completely different experience from dipping into the poetry which made him such an icon. His letters share the freshness and variety of his poetry and musical lyrics, but reveal more of the man.”

The next letter will be published on January 3, 2009.

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