Welcome to Blue Devilism!

Robert Burns is known world over as a lover of life, women and alcohol, as well as the author and collector of over 700 songs and poems (not bad for someone who died at 37!)

‘Blue devilism’ was the term Burns used to describe periods of depression which he suffered, periods which affected his life and his work – not something you would automatically expect of someone with such a reputation and not something that has ever been properly studied.

This blog is the gateway to the University of Glasgow research project which is studying Robert Burns, his mental health and its impact on his life. Use the menu above to browse the site, where you can get the latest updates on the progress of the project, background information on the researchers involved in the project and news about events they’re involved in, as well as useful links to other Robert Burns-related sites.

Why not find us on Twitter too?


2 thoughts on “Home

  1. David Murray

    Congratulations on your project-I enjoyed your article in “Robert Burns Lives”.
    I have been interested in Burns’ health issues for some time and published an article on this in the Homecoming Edition of Burns Chronicle 2009 pp. 524-532.
    For some reason, my name was omitted but I am the author. On page 527 of that article, I referred to Dr. Alice Weaver Flaherty’s book “The Midnight Disease” which suggests hypergraphia as a complication of depression and I suggested Burns may have suffered from this as Flaherty suggested in the case other literary figures.
    Flaherty’ book may be of interest to you.

    Sincerely, David Murray, Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine University of Toronto

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David and thanks for your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed my piece in RBL.

      Your article is actually one of the very first pieces I read as background when I became involved with the project. It’s broad-ranging coverage of Burns and the medical profession was incredibly helpful in those early days, so my thanks to you.

      Although Burns’s handwriting – both quality and quantity – is something that I am giving some time and consideration to, I’ll admit that the Flaherty reference slipped my notice, so more thanks for drawing my attention to it.

      I hope you continue to follow the progress to the project. It’s great to know that it is reaching beyond the borders of Scotland.

      All the best for 2017 when it comes.



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