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James Currie (1756-1805) - Biographer

The first editor and biographer of Robert Burns. He was born on 31st May 1756 at Kirkpatrick Fleming, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, the son of a minister. He emigrated to Virginia in 1771 and fought in the American War of Independence in the Colonial Army, before returning to Scotland in 1777 to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh.  After a short stay in Liverpool he settled in Dumfriesshire in 1792, when he met Robert Burns, briefly, in Dumfries. After Burns's death Currie was chosen to edit the poems and to write the official biography. He took a censorious attitude to Burns's life: it was he who started the legend that Burns was a besotted womanizer and he also took liberties with the documentary evidence available to him. To his credit, however, the four-volume collection of poems, which went through eight editions between 1800 and 1820, helped to raise money for the poet's family. Currie died
on 31 August 1805 at Sidmouth.

Works: A Letter Commercial and Political Addressed to the Right Hon, William Pitt (1793); Water, Cold and Warm, as a Remedy for Fever (1797); ed., The Works of Robert Bums, 4 vols. (1800).

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