Burns Night Added To Dictionary/Wilde Book At Auction – Poetry News Roundup June 19th

Today on My Poetic Side, we take a look at one of the latest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary and the poetry book owned by Oscar Wilde that is going up for auction.

More Than 200 Years After Inaugural Supper, Burns Night Added to the Dictionary

Burns night, the annual event that honours Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard, stretches back over 200 years. And now it has received its own entry in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Burns Night and Burns Supper have both been added to the OED. They are both terms used for the day that is celebrated on or as close as possible to 25 January, the poet’s birthday.

Burns died at the age of 37 in 1796. The event,, which is celebrated not just in Scotland but all over the world, is traditionally celebrated with a meal consisting of haggis, neeps, and tatties. The event should also include the traditional address to the haggis.

Five years after his death, his friends gathered in Alloway in the cottage now referred to as Burns Cottage to honour his memory. This event marked the beginning of what is now celebrated as Burns Night; the only difference is that it met on the anniversary of his death, and it is the anniversary of his birth that is now celebrated.

The official entry in the OED as it appears reads:


Whilst creating the entry for the dictionary, researchers for the OED found that the first mention of a Burns Supper appeared in 1851 in a newspaper in Milwaukee.

Poetry Book Owned By Oscar Wilde up for Auction

A copy of poem which was owned by Oscar Wilde when he was a schoolboy, is to be put up for auction as part of the Books and Manuscripts auction, which will be presided over by Christie’s London on 10th July.

The book is inscribed “Oscar Wilde” and is dated 18th March, 1868. There is an additional annotation on page 13 of the book, written in Wilde’s hand, that records Dr Johnson as being the source of  on of the lines  in “The Traveller” by Oliver Goldsmith. The book is estimated to fetch between £3,000 and £5,000.

Other items in the sale include memorabilia linked to the Beatles, a copy of Adam Smith’s poem , which belonged to Prime Minister William Gladstone and a presentation copy of “Orlando” by Virginia Woolf, which contains a personal inscription from the author.

You must register to comment. Log in or Register.