Best Friends Forever - Robert Burns And Mrs Dunlop

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2019012520190126 (RS)

In 1786 Mrs Frances Anna Wallace Dunlop, a fifty-six-year-old mother, grandmother and woman of letters, started a correspondence with a poet half her age: Robert Burns. She was a gentlewoman proud of her family’s connection to William Wallace, he was the son of a tenant farmer. It shouldn’t have worked to have a friendship that crossed barriers of age, sex and class like that, and yet she was one of the most important people in Burns’ life.

Thanks to new research by Moira Hansen of Glasgow University, we’re understanding more about this relationship and the foundation of shared experience it was built upon. Burns’ poetry helped Frances recover from a deep depression, and she in turn became the person he reached out to most when he was troubled in mind. Novelist Louise Welsh joins Moira and Burns expert Professor Gerald Carruthers to explore the relationship, while finding out about Burns' mental health from Professor Daniel Smith. Historian of emotions Dr Katie Barclay tells us more about how 18th-century people thought about depression, and modern day writer Dr Carolyn Jess Cooke considers the healing power of writing letters.

Novelist Louise Welsh explores the unlikeliest best friends in Scottish letters.

In 1786 Mrs Frances Anna Wallace Dunlop, a fifty-six-year-old mother, grandmother and woman of letters, started a correspondence with a poet half her age: Robert Burns. She was a gentlewoman proud of her family’s connection to William Wallace, he was the son of a tenant farmer. It shouldn’t have worked to have a friendship that crossed barriers of age, sex and class like that, and yet she was one of the most important people in Burns’ life.

Thanks to new research by Moira Hansen of Glasgow University, we’re understanding more about this relationship and the foundation of shared experience it was built upon. Burns’ poetry helped Frances recover from a deep depression, and she in turn became the person he reached out to most when he was troubled in mind. Novelist Louise Welsh joins Moira and Burns expert Professor Gerald Carruthers to explore the relationship, while finding out about Burns' mental health from Professor Daniel Smith. Historian of emotions Dr Katie Barclay tells us more about how 18th-century people thought about depression, and modern day writer Dr Carolyn Jess Cooke considers the healing power of writing letters.