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About the book
  • Published: 6 June 2006
  • ISBN: 9780141441535
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $14.99

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner




James Hogg's The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner is a Scottish classic, a quintessentially Gothic tale of psychological horror, and a relentless attack on Calvinist dogma. The Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Karl Miller.
Robert Wringham's family is composed of a dissolute father and brother, a pious mother, and a rival father in the person of a fanatical Calvinist minister. He comes to believe that he is one of the elect, predestined to be saved, while others are damned. Sure of his freedom from the dictates of morality, he embarks on a series of crimes in the company of a new friend Gil-Martin, a man of many likenesses who can be mistaken for Robert, and who explains that they are as one in the holy work of purifying the world. But who is Gil-Martin? And what does he truly desire? The Gothic double or doppelganger is nowhere more powerfully imagined than in Confessions of a Justified Sinner, once called 'the greatest novel of Scotland'.
This new edition has an introduction by Karl Miller, which discusses the presence of the novel in the life and times of James Hogg. It also contains two of Hogg's most interesting stories, 'Marion's Jock' and 'John Gray o' Middleholm'.
James Hogg (1770-1835) born in Ettrick, in the Scottish Borders. A shepherd for many years, Hogg was writing poems by the 1790s, aiding Walter Scott with material for his collection of ballads, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. In 1810 he moved to Edinburgh, where he published several volumes of verse, and worked on the Spy and Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. Confessions of a Justified Sinner was published anonymously in 1824, and is now generally seen as his masterpiece.
If you enjoyed Confessions of a Justified Sinner, you might like Matthew Lewis's The Monk, also available in Penguin Classics.
'A Scottish classic, a world classic'
Ian Rankin
'A sinister, funny, moving tale of demonic possession, murder and religious fanaticism'
Sunday Telegraph

  • Pub date: 6 June 2006
  • ISBN: 9780141441535
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $14.99

About the Author

James Hogg

James Hogg was born on 9 December 1770 in Ettrick Forest in Selkirk, Scotland. He worked as a shepherd and taught himself how to read and write before being introduced to Sir Walter Scott who helped him begin his literary career. His first collection of poems, The Mountain Bard, was published in 1807 and this was followed by The Queen's Wake in 1813.He went on to work for Blackwood's Magazine and published his most famous work, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, in 1824.James Hogg died on 21 November 1835.

Date: 2013-08-06
Having researched comedy since his mid-teens, James Hogg started writing in 2005. His first book, the biography of James Robertson Justice, What's the Bleeding Time, Sir? was published in 2008. He also collaborated with Robert Sellers on Little Ern! The Authorised Biography of Ernie Wise. After an eight-year stint at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, James now devotes his time purely to writing and researching.

Robert Sellers is the author of more than ten books on popular culture, including the bestselling Hellraisers series, as well as the definitive book on the genesis of the Bond franchise, The Battle for Bond and the true history of Handmade Films, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. His latest book is the authorised biography of Oliver Reed.

James Hogg (1770-1835) led a troubled life as a writer. Originally a shepherd, he taught himself to write and finally achieved recognition for his epic poem on Mary, Queen of Scots, The Queen's Wake, and was invited to write for the best-selling journal Blackwood's Magazine. However, Hogg soon became a figure of fun and ridicule in the magazine's satirical 'Noctes Ambrosianae', in which the crude and absurd 'Ettrick Shepherd' was openly modelled on him. It is debated whether this was a source of pain and humiliation to the increasingly ostracised Hogg. His masterpiece, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, only achieved recognition some 100 years after publication, but is now one of the most important novels in the Scottish canon.

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