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Robert Burns Lives!
This and That. Rachel Bergstrand and Natalia Kaloh Vid.

Edited by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Dawsonville, GA, USA


You get them, we get them, every one gets them. Some are from family members, some from children of our friends. They mark a special day in the life of the youngster who deems you special enough to send you one – a high school graduation invitation! Some mean more than others for obvious reasons, and one packed with meaning arrived at our house this week. Allow me to digress and refer you to Chapter 11 on Robert Burns Lives! written about Rachel. One hundred and nine additional articles or chapters have been posted on this web site since then. You need to read that piece, dated April 29, 2004 - seven years ago - to appreciate this article!

Rachel Bergstrand when she was officially accepted at Indiana University!

Susan and I watched Rachel grow into a beautiful young teen, but then several years ago we moved to a lakeside home fifty miles away and sort of lost track of each other except for occasional conversations with her mom, Joy. It is difficult for us to believe Rachel has completed her high school work and will be attending a fine university far removed from her home in Atlanta in the fall.

Her “thank you” note said, “I will be attending Indiana University in the fall, where I hope to study writing of some kind. It all started with Robert Burns and I have the bust statue to thank for that!”

The importance of her last sentence is astounding since neither of us has talked about Burns for years now. What this proves to me is that you never know what will happen because of a conversation about Robert Burns. I imagine Rachel will take a look at creative writing. Burns was a tremendous prose writer as his letters shout out their creativity. It matters not if he was looking to the future and how he would be judged by what he wrote or just speaking from the heart.

So, as Rachel embarks on another big step in her young life, I take joy in knowing that she feels a bust of Robert Burns and our conversations about him had a part to play in her wanting to study “writing of some kind”. Bon voyage, Rachel. Travel safe!


Another important piece of mail made its way to Waverley House this week - the new book by Natalia Kaloh Vid entitled Ideological Translations of Robert Burns’s Poetry in Russia and in the Soviet Union. Those who know this gifted writer and speaker will rejoice in the publication of her first book. Mark my word - you will hear more about her and by her in the near future. Natalia will become a highly coveted speaker at future Burns conferences.

ISBN 978-961-6656-64-1

Dr. Vid earned a Ph.D. degree in English literature from the University of Maribor in Slovenia, focusing on the ideological influence on translations of Robert Burns’s poetry in Russia and in the Soviet Union. She is currently finishing her second Ph.D. thesis on Apocalyptic symbolism in Mikhail Bulgakov’s literary works. Natalia has presented her research at more than thirty international conferences in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Chile, Canada, Croatia, Romania, Scotland and Wales. If you are lucky enough to see her name on an upcoming Burns conference program, sign up as soon as possible because you are in for a treat!

Natalia previously appeared on the pages of our web site in February of this year and I invite you to refer to Chapter 107 for more about her.

It was my honor to write a blurb for the back cover of her new publication, and I share that with you here:

From Marx to Burns to Marshak, Natalia Kaloh Vid takes us on an inspiring and attention- grabbing journey to explain why Robert Burns has and continues to be so popular in Russia. You will discover, as I did, the answer in this much needed book which opens a new frontier for all Burnsians. Samuil Marshak is a name you will come to respect, and for years to come you will be grateful to the author who is one of the new stars on the Burns stage! Not only is this a story worth telling, it is one worth reading.

Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot
Editor, Robert Burns Lives! (On
(FRS: 6.2.11)

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