Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Monday, 29 December 2008

Bard's letters to appear online

Robert Burns
Burns' letters will appear online on the dates they were written

More than 90 letters written by Robert Burns are to be published online in the run up to the opening of a 21m museum celebrating the poet's life and work.

The conservation charity, The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), has set up the site to display the correspondence.

Material will be posted until the Burns Birthplace Museum opens in July 2010.

Homecoming Scotland events are being held in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth.

NTS said the letters - to friends, colleagues, literary magazines and other companions - would give readers an insight into Burns' "colourful life".

Its chairman, Shonaig Macpherson, said: "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.

"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."

The letters will appear online on the dates they were originally written.

Visitors to the site will be able to leave their thoughts and comments underneath each newly added letter.

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