Robert Burns's First Printer: John Wilson of Kilmarnock; Part 2: Printing Books for Local Authors

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Scottish literature, book history, provincial publishing


Examines (with title-page images) the newly-written books and pamphlets issued by the Scottish printer John Wilson (1758-1821), of Kilmarnock and Ayr, discusses methods of publication such as job printing, publication on commission, and publication by subscription, and argues that the titles show signs of change and individuality in the culture of Robert Burns's Ayrshire. Focuses especially on publications showing the religious controversy between Auld Licht and Moderate Presbyterian ministers and on the volumes of original poetry that Wilson printed, especially those by David Sillar, John Lapraik, and Robert Burns himself, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Kilmarnock, 1786). .