The reception of Robert Burns by the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Bengali readers involves simultaneously the canonisation and marginalisation of the poet. Several comments arising from the colonial Bengali intelligentsia subscribe to the reputation already enjoyed by the poet in the Anglophone world. In the process, they tend to reinforce the stereotypes surrounding Burns and restrict the possibility of adapting him as a cultural catalyst in the colonial situation. Burns's case was also ambiguous since he represented a position of socio-economic disadvantage within the coloniser's culture, but his ethnic affiliations with the coloniser would grant him a degree of politico-cultural ascendancy in the context of the colony. Burns's status as a Scottish peasant poet, rather than providing an impetus for the self-definition and self-assertion of the colonised in Bengal, led to his further marginalisation within the overarching canon of English poetry as received by the Bengali readers.


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pp. 101-124
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