Burns was a professor of English at William Paterson University, joining the faculty in 1989. He published widely on Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, James Joyce and Thornton Wilder, among others.
His work on Gertrude Stein was included in a three-part New Yorker article by Janet Malcolm in the early 2000s. As an editor, his book credits included "Tour of the Darkling Plain: The 'Finnegans Wake' Letters of Thornton Wilder and Adaline Glasheen"; "A Passion for Joyce: The Letters of Hugh Kenner and Adaline Glasheen," "The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder," and "Gertrude Stein on Picasso."
As The New Yorker put it, Stein became the focus of his life's work. Burns was the expert The Metropolitan Museum of Art consulted for the 2012 exhibition, "The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde."
He also wrote an essay about Gertrude Stein that was included in the exhibition’s catalog and donated more than 20 archival photos of the paintings in her apartment.
From his official obituary: "Dr. Burns was an avid supporter of the arts and literature in New York and Paris. Loving uncle, great-uncle, great-great-uncle, friend, and colleague to many. He will be missed by all."
We knew Ed as a regular at the Grassroots Tavern on St. Mark's Place ... when we enjoyed spending far too many late afternoons and early evenings during John Leeper's shifts.
In one of her New Yorker pieces, Malcolm described Burns as "burly, affable and loquacious." Not sure about burly, but the other descriptions fit the bill.