Cover image for The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner
Title:
The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner
Author:
Hogg, James, 1770-1835.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New York Review Books, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xiii, 248 pages ; 21 cm
Language:
English
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ISBN:
9781590170250
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner is a startling tale of murder and madness set in a time of troubles like our own. Robert Wringhim is a religious fanatic: one of God's chosen who believes himself free to disregard the strictures of morality--a view in which he is much encouraged by the elusive, peculiarly striking foreigner who becomes his dearest friend. Describing the seductive mutual dependence of these soulmates and the way--efficient at first, then increasingly intoxicated--they go about settling scores with their (and of course God's) enemies, James Hogg presents a powerful picture of evil in the world and in the heart and mind. This work of black humor, acute psychological insight, and, in the end, deeply compassionate humanity is one of the masterpieces of literature in English.


Author Notes

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 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)