I picked up “Sanditon” again and found another treasure in Chapter 7:
I have read several of Burns's poems with great delight," said Charlotte as soon as she had time to speak. "But I am not poetic enough to separate a man's poetry entirely from his character; and poor Burns's known irregularities greatly interrupt my enjoyment of his lines. I have difficulty in depending on the truth of his feelings as a lover. I have not faith in the sincerity of the affections of a man of his description. He felt and he wrote and he forgot."
I had certainly heard of Robert Burns, the poet, but could not remember any specifics about the man or his works. So I went to Google to dig up some dirt on his character and ‘known irregularities’.
Miss Austen and I seem to have the same propensity to judge a writer’s works by his/her character. I like to know a bit about a writer as I read what she/he wrote. Well, I found the ‘dirt’. It appears that he was a bit free in his love life by bestowing his heart among several ‘ladies’. Miss Austen and I would hardly approve, I dare say. Therefore, we conclude it must have ‘tainted’ his works. Not only that, but also I noticed that he wrote with a Scottish accent, which I have a bit of trouble translating. Well, I have certainly been forewarned and shall take a bit of care if I happen to pick up a Burns book, or should that be “burns his book”? I shall leave it for you to determine! And please, do not think that I have any prejudices against the Scots, for I am part Scot myself. Any enlightenment you may have on this subject is most welcome.
Linda the Librarian
Pic: Robert Burns, from dontwastewine