His writing has inspired artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians around the world and he even has an evening dedicated to his poetry and wisdom.
Yet Robert Burns’ writing has now been described as “Weinsteinian”, after a letter written by the Scottish bard emerged in which he seems to boast of raping his heavily pregnant girlfriend.
Liz Lochhead, a former national poet of Scotland, said Burns’ “disgraceful sexual boast” – comparable to the behaviour of Harvey Weinstein – has exposed him as a “sex pest”.
The exposure of Burns’ letter, written in 1788 to his girlfriend and future wife Jean Armour, makes him the latest person to be caught up in the movement.
In the letter, Burns brags of jumping on a “destitute and friendless” Armour and giving her a “thundering scalade [military assault]” on a floor covered in horse-manure when she was pregnant with his twins.
Lochhead, who is to deliver a lecture titled ‘Burns and Women’ at an evening hosted by the Scottish Hellenic Society in Glasgow at the end of January, said: “The disgraceful sexual boast . . . seemed very like a rape of his heavily pregnant girlfriend.
“It’s very, very Weinsteinian . . . [Burns] was a genuine romantic, easily flamed to passionate love. He was a sex pest as well I think. Does that mean he isn’t worth reading? It’s not really relevant.”