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The items included here have never before been published complete in one volume (some are published for the first time), and they are arranged chronologically in order to highlight the major creative stages of his life. In contrast to the poems and songs, most of the material included was unpublished during the poet's lifetime, so this new edition is largely based on fresh transcriptions of manuscripts in Burns's hand, or in the hands of his various amanuenses. It offers diplomatic transcriptions that adhere as closely as possible to RB's original manuscript page, retaining his eccentric spellings, capitalisation, long and short dashes, punctuation, and use of ampersands, as well as marking revisions and elisions. The edition features a general introduction, and each item is preceded by full headnote, assessing its importance in relation to Burns's life and poetic corpus. Notes explicate names, cultural, historical and literary references, providing full cross-references these with the poetry and correspondence.
1. Manual of Religious Belief. (c.1777)
2. Tarbolton Bachelor's Club. (1781-3)
3. First Commonplace Book (1783-5)
4. Prefaces and Dedications to Poems (1786-7)
5. Second Commonplace Book (1787-90)
6. Tour of the Scottish Borders and North of England (May-June 1787)
7a. West Highland Tour (June 1787)
7b. Highland Tour (Aug-Sept 1787)
7c. Tour of Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire and Perthshire (Oct 1787)
8. Monkland Friendly Society Library (1789-94)
9a. Glenriddell Manuscripts Vol. 1. (1789-93?)
9b. Glenriddell Manuscripts Vol.2. (1791-94?)
10. Letters to the Press (1788-94)
11. Prose Fragments.