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James Hogg (1) (1770–1835)

Author of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

For other authors named James Hogg, see the disambiguation page.

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About the Author

Son of a Scottish shepherd and descended from minstrels, Hogg led a life that has the fictional quality Thomas Hardy was to capture later in the century in his novels of country life. After meeting Sir Walter Scott in 1802, Hogg adopted the name "Ettrick Shepherd," a pseudonym under which he show more published original lyrics and ballads. In 1814 Hogg met William Wordsworth and enjoyed literary friendships in the Lake District, although he parodied the other poets' styles and mannerisms in The Poetic Mirror (1816). He married at age 50 and fathered five children, whom he tried to support by the same kind of unproductive farming at which Robert Burns had labored a generation before. Like Burns, his convivial nature and verbal talents won him a following in fashionable society, especially after the publication of his first novel, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824), when he was 53 years old. The first novel to explore psychological aberrations, it traces the collapse of a personality under the pressure of social conformity, native superstition, and religious excess. Since the introduction by Andre Gide to the 1947 Cresset edition, it has acquired an academic following and a new popularity. There is a James Hogg Society, founded in 1982, which publishes a newsletter. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by James Hogg

Four tales (2001) 24 copies
The Three Perils of Woman (1823) 14 copies
Tales of Love and Mystery (1985) 12 copies
The Shepherd's Calendar (1995) 11 copies
Highland Tours (1981) 9 copies
The brownie of Bodsbeck (1976) 6 copies
Highland journeys (1802) 3 copies
The Spy (2000) 3 copies
Anecdotes of Scott (2004) 3 copies
Queen Hynde (1998) 2 copies
Mary Burnet (2019) 2 copies
Works of James Hogg (2013) 1 copy
Kilmeny Poem 1 copy
Hoggs Songs 1 copy

Associated Works

Penny Dreadfuls: Sensational Tales of Terror (1818) — Contributor — 433 copies
The Vampyre and Other Tales of the Macabre (1997) — Contributor, some editions — 409 copies
The Penguin Book of Horror Stories (1984) — Contributor — 138 copies
The Standard Book of British and American Verse (1932) — Contributor — 111 copies
The Oxford Book of Scottish Short Stories (1995) — Contributor — 100 copies
Murder Most Scottish (1656) — Contributor — 90 copies
The Treasury of English Short Stories (1985) — Contributor — 81 copies
Scottish Ghost Stories (2009) — Contributor — 76 copies
The Everyman Anthology of Poetry for Children (1994) — Contributor — 71 copies
The New Penguin Book of Scottish Short Stories (1983) — Contributor — 70 copies
Scottish Stories of Fantasy and Horror (1971) — Contributor — 43 copies
Horror Stories: Classic Tales from Hoffmann to Hodgson (2014) — Contributor — 43 copies
Weird Gathering (1979) — Contributor — 29 copies
Dark of the Moon: Poems of Fantasy and the Macabre (1947) — Contributor — 25 copies
Polar Horrors: Chilling Tales from the Ends of the Earth (2022) — Contributor — 20 copies
Scottish Tales of Terror (1972) — Contributor — 19 copies
An Anthology of Scottish Fantasy Literature (1996) — Contributor — 14 copies
Lost Souls Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2018) — Contributor — 13 copies
Fairy Poems (2023) — Contributor — 12 copies
La poesía inglesa románticos y victorianos — Contributor — 4 copies


Common Knowledge




Religion is a sublime and glorious thing, the bonds of society on earth, and the connector of humanity with the Divine nature; but there is nothing so dangerous to man as the wresting of any of its principles, or forcing them beyond their due bounds: this is of all others the readiest way to destruction. Neither is there anything so easily done. There is not an error into which a man can fall which he may not press Scripture into his service as proof of the probity of

It's a good read, but the problem is that it doesn't really go further than what you'd get from the blurb. Especially once you get to the memoir itself, you've already read "the plot" so to speak and the first person perspective is just him saying "I am part of the elect, wow this is so great" and "this guy who is blatantly the devil is telling me to murder people" and although it's well written it feels predictable and somewhat padded with more events that work out the same way and doesn't really delve into anything deeper.

A strange thing is that the narrative forces you to accept the reality of the supernatural events depicted in the main. There is never any doubt that Gil-Martin *is* the Devil, and there's no doubt he appears completely real to *everyone*, including his shapeshifting abilities. This makes interesting psychological readings harder to sustain. There are several parts which are suggestive of a kind of internal battle, but strangely the fact of the material supernatural makes understanding the sections where it appears it's somehow all in his head much harder. There are a few key sections - when Robert first meets Gil-Martin, when he comes home his mother and stepfather are convinced he has become a genuinely different person. Later on when it appears Gil-Martin is stalking his brother while Robert is sick for a month, he describes feeling like he's two people and yet not actually either person - the two are Gil-Martin and his brother. Near the end he has long gaps in his memory where he apparently both seduced a lady and forged something to force her family off their land, then later murdered her and his mother.

None of these fit in obvious ways with the behaviour of Gil-Martin in the rest of the book and the meaning is lost on me. Gil-Martin in the murders of the pastor and Robert's brother is obviously ensuring that Robert takes 100% of the responsibility (although Gil-Martin also appears to have murdered a judge by himself?) Yet on the memory lapses and the murders he's strangely vague. It feels like a lot more sinning went on and yet we're not only not privy to it but even the Devil doesn't goad him about it. I feel there was stuff going on in the ending that just passed me by

"Surely you are not such a fool," said I, "as to believe that the Devil really was in the printing office?"

"Oo, Gud bless you, sir! Saw him myself, gave him a nod, and good-day. Rather a gentlemanly personage—Green Circassian hunting coat and turban—Like a foreigner—Has the power of vanishing in one moment though—Rather a suspicious circumstance that. Otherwise, his appearance not much against him."
… (more)
tombomp | 35 other reviews | Oct 31, 2023 |
Bonnie Kilmeny, a fair maiden, travels up the glen and transports to Paradise. The poem follows her journey through a heavenly wilderness of meadows and streams and back home again. Upon her return, animals holler and bow in their thankfulness.

The infiltration of Scottish-varied vocabulary makes the poem a challenge. However, it has a light, elegant flow and imagery. I wouldn't mind reading the broader collection with this poem, A Queen's Wake.
leah_markum | Oct 28, 2022 |
Brilliant and engaging twice told tale.
brakketh | 35 other reviews | Aug 15, 2022 |
J.Flux | 35 other reviews | Aug 13, 2022 |



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Associated Authors

David Blair Introduction and notes
André Gide Afterword
Peter Kenny Narrator
Margot Livesey Introduction
Ian Rankin Introduction


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½ 3.7

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