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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
New centre to study Burns' work
Robert Burns portrait miniature
The Burns centre will focus on the poet's life and works
A major new research centre dedicated to the work of Robert Burns is to be launched at one of Scotland's leading universities.

Glasgow University will launch the unit on Saturday.

Officials said the centre would be the hub of critical research offering new insights into the work of Burns.

A global Burns website will have links to the centre, while major conferences are planned to take place in Edinburgh and Prague in 2009.

The centre will be directed by Dr Gerard Carruthers from the University of Glasgow's department of Scottish literature.

Dr Carruthers said: "No writer has wider appeal, both popular and scholarly, than Burns.

The world has remained fascinated with Burns in other ways which makes him a huge cultural icon
Dr Gerard Carruthers

"One of the greatest poets and also one of the finest song-writers produced by Scotland, or for that matter Britain, Burns is someone who matters in so many ways.

"The politics, theology, economics, history and many other interests that inform his work all point to the revolutions of the world and of the human mind that accompany the late 18th Century and which underpin to a large degree life in the 21st Century.

"As well as his work, the world has remained fascinated with Burns in other ways, which makes him a huge cultural icon, a phenomenon in itself that is worthy of long and deep investigation, and the new centre will make a contribution to its understanding."

Future projects include the completion of a new 10-volume edition of the works of Burns, with particular emphasis on his songs, and an online edition of the letters of James Currie, Burns' first editor.

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