James Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum, published in six parts in Edinburgh over the period 1787-1803, is now inextricably linked to its greatest contributor, the poet, song-writer and song-collector Robert Burns. This lecture builds from Murray Pittock’s recent editorial work on Johnson’s collection, forthcoming in the new multivolume Oxford Edition of Robert Burns, based at the University of Glasgow. The lecture shows that the apparently-innocent question “Who wrote the Scots Musical Museum?” is a complex one, raising very fundamental questions about the nature of authorship and editorship in the necessarily collaborative and social enterprise of song publication, and it raises issues of wide relevance to Scottish cultural studies and the editing of Scottish literary texts. Songs given detailed comment include "The Birks of Aberfeldy" (SMM 113), "McPherson's Farewell" (SMM 114), and "The winter it is past" (SMM 200).
"The W. Ormiston Roy Memorial Lecture: Who Wrote the Scots Musical Museum? Challenging Editorial Practice in the Presence of Authorial Absence,"
Studies in Scottish Literature:
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/ssl/vol42/iss1/2