Robert Burns was "a drunk, misogynistic, racist philanderer" ?
This year Scots get to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns' birth.
Like every year, we with, thousands of Scots over the world will throw a Burns supper.
But who was he?
His story is causing a bit of trouble among historians here in Scotland.
One of them, Michael Fry, claims he was a "drunk, misogynistic, racist philanderer"
But the story about what kind of person he was is now threatening to overshadow the Scottish Government's festivities for the anniversary.
It may even end up in court.
The celebrations have been titled Homecoming Scotland, asking everyone who is Scottish, or has links to Scotland, to celebrate being Scottish.
It has been designed to attract people of Scottish ancestry to visit Scotland.
The campaign is aimed at people worldwide, but more so at those living in Canada, Australia and America.
Fry claims that Burns is unfit to lead the events that begin on Burns Night and run all the way through to St Andrew's Day in November.
Mr Fry said to the Scotsman newspaper "Burns was a drunk, misogynistic, racist philanderer,"
"Perhaps he was not untypical of Scots, but we have to wonder whether this is the right image for the modern Scotland. By all means, let us celebrate the poetry according to its merits. But, in the same critical spirit, let us deal honestly with the man who wrote that poetry."
"We could repeatedly get drunk. In this condition, the males among us could 'lay' one woman after another, following discussion of their respective merits in dirty talk with our drouthie cronies.
"Needless to say, this would be unprotected sex performed in a spirit of utter indifference to potential pregnancies, amang the rigs o'barley perhaps. Irksome consequences would be the females' own silly fault."
"It is only right to mark Burns' 250th anniversary in a literary sense. But in 2009, his example, in a practical sense, could well send Scotland straight down the tubes.
"Are there not, at the very least, other heroes preferable for a period of adversity? It is difficult to see Burns as an inspiration for testing times."
Peter Westwood, director of the Robert Burns World Federation and editor of the Burns Chronicle said "There was no way he could have produced the great work that his did during his 37 years if he was always drunk and chasing women."Being born and living in Scotland, like other countries you learn heroes and heroines from the past.
In school I loved history, I loved hearing about Scotland's proud place in world history.
Hearing tales about people like Alexander Fleming, John Logie Baird, David Livingstone, William Wallace and The Bruce to name a few.
We were told about what they did, what they stood for and of course what kind of people they were.
One thing I remember being taught about was Burns' poems, one thing about him that was missing for me in the classroom was...
Who was he?
I don't remember being told anything really, apart from he was born 40 miles away down in Ayrshire.
But is it true? Here's what we know for sure:
• 1759: Robert Burns is born on 25 January in Alloway, Ayrshire, to a local farmer. He is the eldest of seven children and grows up working on the farm.
• 1773: Burns writes his first poem at the age of 15 about his first love, My Handsome Nell. He honours her virtue.
• 1784: At around this time, Burns meets and becomes lovers with Jean Armour (right). She will go on to bear him two sets of twins before they are married.
• 1785: His first illegitimate child, Elizabeth Paton Burns, is born to his mother's servant, Elizabeth Paton.
• 1785: Burns meets Mary Campbell (left). They become lovers and it is believed he may have married her.
• 1786: The publication of his first work, Poems – Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, is an overnight success, putting a stop to his plans to emigrate to the West Indies. Mary Campbell also dies in this year.
• 1788: Burns marries Jean Armour.
• 1780s onwards: Burns is said to have had affairs with Peggy Chambers, Meg Cameron, Anna Park (who died bearing his child), Nancy McLehose (right), Maria Liddell, Lesley Baillee, Jessie Leward and Jenny Clow.
• 1786-96: Burns pens more than 400 popular songs, as well as some of his best known pieces such as Tam O'Shanter.
• 1796: Burns dies in Dumfries aged 37. From Scotland's population of 1.6 million, 10,000 flock to the area for his funeral.
• Burns's concept of The Rights Of Women revealed as protection, decorum and admiration:
"For Right the third, our last, our best, our dearest: That right to fluttering female hearts the nearest,
Which even the Rights of Kings, in low prostration,
Most humbly own - it is dear, dear Admiration!"
(The Rights Of Woman)
Insights into his views of women may also be gleaned from:
"Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm."
"What signifies the life o'man, An' 'twere na for the lasses O"
(Green Grow The Rashes )
More news about the fighting between historians:
Hogg said he was now planning to sue Carruthers, head of the University of Glasgow's department of English and Scottish literature, for defamation after Carruthers claimed Hogg made abusive phone calls to his home.
Other Burns experts said the row threatened to "muddy the waters" of the Homecoming year at a time when the movement should be pulling together. Peter Westwood, editor of the Burns Chronicle, said: "This has been going on for a number of years. I know them both and Patrick has a tendency to get the academic's back up.
"Over the years there have been many articles written criticising Patrick, who is out on his own.
"This is an important year with it being Burns' 250th anniversary and it's a shame that this is still going on."
The dispute between the scholars, who previously worked together at the University of Strathclyde, dates from 1997 when Carruthers dismissed claims that Hogg had found a new Burns poem. Since then, Hogg says Carruthers has published accusations against the writer on internet forums and in the media. Carruthers accused Hogg's book, The Canongate Burns, of being beset by basic errors and vehemently questioned Hogg's claim that he had uncovered a series of poems by Burns never before recognised as the Bard's work.
On the World Burns Club forum last year, Carruthers said of Hogg's book. "What my work clearly exposes is Hogg's fraudulent methods."
In 2006 he had talked of "the sheer bad workmanship (and this is to put it very politely!) of both The Lost Poems and The Canongate Burns."
Speaking out for the first time since Carruthers' attack, Hogg claimed he was being hounded out of his profession by his rival, who "ripped apart" everything he did.
Hogg said: "Anything I do, Gerry just pours scorn on it. I have tried to avoid what he has written about my work, but a few months ago I contacted him and he said I should read what he had written. I was absolutely horrified at the level of invective. I couldn't believe what he was saying. He's calling me a glory hunter."
The situation culminated, Hogg said, in a personal attack on him. "I tried to make up with him on the Burns Federation forum, but Gerry started accusing me of abusive phone calls... that was absolute rubbish and serious defamation."
Hogg now claims he wants to take Carruthers to court over the accusation. He said: "I have been taking advice from a lawyer on it. I'm seriously thinking about taking it to the High Court. You can't let something like that go on."
Carruthers was unavailable for comment.