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Borgar Jarl: J. J. Haldane Burgess and Up Helly Aa


Haldane Burgess, the blind poet of Lerwick, promoted Shetland's Norse renaissance at the end of the nineteenth century. Borgar Jarl tells the story of his religious upbringing as a Baptist; how as a fervent Marxist he became a leading light of Socialism in the town; and how he was fascinated by Norse mythology.

The study also discusses how these three influences converged, creating what is perhaps Burgess' most enduring legacy, the Viking fire festival of Up Helly Aa. It was a winter celebration born in the narrow streets and lanes of old Lerwick, but one to which Burgess added his own ideas: a vision which has been inspirational to generations.


Publisher: Shetland Heritage Publications
Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 9780956569868
No. of pages: 75

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