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If you think that the best response to religious extremism is to laugh at it, then James Hogg’s most famous work, published in , demands. Citation for published version: Fielding, P , ‘The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner’. in The Edinburgh Companion to James Hogg. Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner study guide contains a biography of James Hogg, literature essays, quiz questions.

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Consequently, I quite enjoyed it which I often do, with classics, when I take the time and patience to read them. I seemed hardly to be an accountable creature; being thus in the habit of executing transactions of the utmost moment, without being sensible that I did them. I felt as one round whose body a deadly snake is twisted, which continues to hold him in its fangs, without injuring him, farther than in moving its scaly infernal folds with exulting delight, to let its victim feel to whose power he has subjected himself ….

Perhaps the most obvious interpretation to start with is the religious angle.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

The editor’s narrative is even more concretely dated and situated in present time, external to the novel, through the device of the letter by Hogg included by the fictional editor which was in fact published in Blackwood’s Magazine as described. Despite the fact that this still holds up pretty well today, context is everything. These chosen few will have a heavenly reward regardless of how their lives are lived.

I kneeled, And was going to stretch out my hand to take one, when my patron seized me, as I thought, by the clothes, and dragged me away with as much ease as I had been a lamb, saying, with a joyful and elevated voice: The first date on the opening justifief is the year AinnerOxford World’s Classicspages. Abandoned by the man the law says is his father, and subjected to the religious fanaticism of his guardian and his mother, it’s perhaps not surprising that the boy grows up to be somewhat twisted and jealous of his elder brother, who seems to have a golden life.

It also impresses as a piece of psychological realism, as Wringhim’s personality is riven beyond his control. And of course there’s Hogg’s letter, which is revealed to contain a few odd lies.

In fact, is it possible for the elect to sin at all or, by virtue of their exalted status, do things that would be sinful if done by one of the damned cease to be sins when done by one of the elect? But this is very much the original article. The Private Memoirs tells the story of the fervent and utterly self-righteous young Calvinist Justifier Wringhim — and boy, could I have wrung him!


From that moment, I conceived it decreed, not that I jjstified be a minister of the gospel, but a champion of it, to cut off the enemies of the Lord from the face of the earth; and I rejoiced in the commission, finding it more congenial to my nature to be cutting sinners off with the sword, than to be haranguing them from the pulpit, striving to produce an effect, confesslons God, by xinner act of absolute predestination, had forever rendered impracticable.

Published in gogg, and rediscovered in ja,es s when it must have seemed incredibly apt, The novel is a fascinating mixture between gothic novel, crime story, psychological thriller, and study of religious fanaticism. As I thus wended my way, I beheld a young man of a mysterious appearance coming towards me. This segues into the Hogt Memoirs and Confessions of the killer, who indeed fancies himself a Justified Sinner. Gil-Martin, who is able to transform his appearance at will, soon directs all of Robert’s pre-existing tendencies and beliefs to evil purposes, convincing him that it is his jhstified to “cut sinners off with the sword”, and that murder can be the correct course of action.

God has already saved you since the start of time.

This is a satire on the idea of predestination, an examination of the origins of the sectarianism which still disfigures Scotland today, a tale of sibling rivalry, a story of madness, murder and the devil. But for all that, Jamfs not sure what to say about it.

The book since I read it in black, pouring weather on Tweedside, has always haunted and puzzled me. Unfortunately, I do not fall into either category and so somewhat churlishly only give it three. Note that it was written inaround the same time as Frankenstein.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg

This edition reprints the text of the unexpurgated first edition oflater ‘corrected’ in an attempt to placate the Calvinists. The accoutrements of the genre are all An eerie Caledonian fable about religious dogmatism, which works simultaneously on dozens of levels — atmospheric, intellectual, generic, geographical — and all of them engaging. In The Private Memoirs and Confessions of Justified SinnerHogg presents through young Wringhim the danger involve in possessing too much self righteousness in relation to exercise an excessive religious belief to the point of fanaticismthat verges on madness.

The result is teasingly brilliant and prefigures some of postmodernism’s best trickery.


The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg – Free Ebook

Conveniently, as one of the elect, his lies, cruelty and murders cannot be held against him, since his salvation is already secured. I read this book for an upcoming course I will be taking i This book was written in So a rare star upgrade from my original rating.

He is stunned by this man, by this otherworldly creature. It is nothing less than a descent into madness. That said, I did think it a remarkable book and one which I would gladly re-read. The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner New ed. I felt that the torment he suffered as the devil’s follower was, in a way, the logical conclusion of his irrational beliefs.

It recounts his childhood, under the influence of the Rev Wringhim, and goes on to explain how he becomes in thrall to an enigmatic companion who says his name is Gil-Martin. It tells the story of a ‘justified’ sinner, who believes he’s already one of God’s elect on Earth, and therefore his place in Heaven is alre I first read this at university, but decided that it was long past time to reread it. He’s not the writer Scott was, nevertheless I found the style and tone to be highly readable.

Speaking of crows, I heartily endorse the subtext as being an Who is he that causeth the mole, from his secret path of darkness, to throw up the gem, the gold, and the precious ore?

I actually fell asleep on two occasions whilst reading it. Please leave the room, Rick Santorum. I’m reasonably familiar with this period of history on a fairly superficial level, but I was nevertheless glad to be reading a book with explanatory notes, and would suggest that’s essential for anyone who doesn’t know the background to the religious and political situation in Scotland at that time.

A bit of work for the modern reader at times but well worth the effort. Some advice for anyone reading Confessions for the first time: Finally, George is murdered by being stabbed in the back, apparently during a duel with one of his drinking acquaintances.

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I first read this at university, but decided that it was long past time to reread it.