C) Title-page and frontispiece from (James Hogg), 'The...
C) Title-page and frontispiece from (James Hogg), 'The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner, written by himself', London, 1824 - Literature, History and Music
The frontispiece purports to be a reproduction of part of the 'justified sinner's' confession This rare first edition of James Hogg's (1770-1835) masterly psychological novel on the themes of religious fanaticism and dual personality. It is a tale of supernatural horror set in eighteenth century Scotland with more than a hint of the legend of Faust and Mephistopheles. Hogg portrays with success 'the results of the arrogance in the guise of Christianity pushed to its dogmatic Scottish extreme'.
From the Middle Ages to the present day Scottish literature and music has been affected by outside influences and how those outsiders have received Scottish work. The most noticeable change is the move from Latin or French to works in broad Scots or English.
Central to the novel is the belief held by some of the more fervent Scottish Calvinists in the doctrines of the elect and predestination, a belief satirised by Burns (1759-1796) in 'Holy Willie's Prayer' and described by Scott (1771-1832) in his novels of Scottish life. This extraordinary novel so far ahead of its time in many respects has been as it were 'rediscovered' by writers such as AndrÇ¸ Gide (1869-1951), who wrote a penetrating introduction to the 1947 edition published by the Cresset Press of London.