This article contributes to the reassessment of Scottish history and identity in light of the recovery of its connections with black Atlantic issues such as slavery and empire. The ‘paradox’ of the national bard seeking employment as a book-keeper on Jamaica remains an uncomfortable area for modern Scotland. This article considers Burns's biographical and textual (dis-)entanglement with the Caribbean in relation to the subsequent competition over his memory. It reads Robert Burns as a lieu de mémoire (Pierre Nora) that opens up a conflicted account of the nature of free labour ideology, slavery and abolition in the late eighteenth century.
- Robert Burns
- black Atlantic