[[ read online pdf ]] The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified SinnerAuthor James Hogg – Publitags.co

Who is he that causeth the mole, from his secret path of darkness, to throw up the gem, the gold, and the precious ore Hogg should be better remembered Justified Sinner is a dark revelation, one less gothic than psychological The novel is a headbirth which ignores Lewis Walpole Radcliff and instead Babadooks from a nascent emotional realism, one like Fyodor s magic door where everything is tinged yellow and seizures lead to murder Speaking of crows, I heartily endorse the subtext as being an opposition to fanaticism or any dogmatic approach to life or social order Please leave the room, Rick Santorum The novel is two tiered, a found editor s investigation and a journal form the eponymous the latter is vain, contradictory and doomed Sorry for the spoiler what else could you expect from an early novel where Old Scratch is the wingman There are veiled thoughts on marriage and inheritance at play, poky pines towards Church imposition That said, this proved an enjoyable bout with the sinister angels of our nature. An eerie Caledonian fable about religious dogmatism, which works simultaneously on dozens of levels atmospheric, intellectual, generic, geographical and all of them engaging With its in jokes, its metafictional structure and even a cheeky authorial self insertion, it reads very much like something faked up by Pynchon or Coover or some other contemporary experimentalist a postmodern rewrite of Gothic Romance But this is very much the original article.The accoutrements of the genre are all there doppelg ngers, sublime nature, black clad figures, looming architecture, eldritch forces that man should not wot of but fused, here, with the Scottish landscape in a way that locates the horrors of the story firmly at home This is unlike Gothic fiction from south of the border, which tends to go abroad to find its otherworldliness Switzerland for Frankenstein, Italy for The Castle of Otranto, France for Udolpho, Romania for Dracula The supernatural elements are also built up over a scaffolding of fascinating religious debate that comes out of the split between Calvinists and religious liberals in Scotland in the nineteenth century.The root of the story is in the dispiriting notion of predestination, which, as Hogg s protagonist points out, makes the economy of the Christian world an absolute contradiction.Seeing that God had from all eternity decided the fate of every individual that was to be born of woman, how vain it was in man to endeavour to save those whom their Maker had, by an unchangeable decree, doomed to destruction.Not only does this theory, taken to its logical conclusion, make preaching and religious guidance a complete waste of time, it also means that your own actions have no bearing whatever on your eventual fate amid the celestial choirs or the sulphurous pits In which case, if you happen to know that you re heading upwards that you re theologically justified then what s to stop you doing anything you like Rape murder fratricide there are no limits.The concept is a brilliant one and Hogg plays it for everything it s worth His interest in ideas of confused identity, psychological breakdown and multiple truths makes it easy to understand why the book was so enthusiastically rediscovered towards the end of the twentieth century after decades of neglect throw in the religious extremism and it s never been relevant It s also genuinely creepy The character of Gil Martin is one of the best literary treatments of the Devil I ve encountered, and some of the set pieces have a real uncanniness to them which is hard to pull off A fascinating book, and an excellent choice for anyone in search of a suitably nightmarish Hallowe en read. The 1001 books list says that this is at once gothic comedy, religious horror story, mystery thriller and psychological study Way to go James Hogg Either this book is so deep and complex that no one can actually fathom enough of it to pigeon hole it in a convincing manner, or it is in fact, everything it says on the tin Personally I saw this book as a good example of what might happen when you tell a lot of people that they have an unlimited get out of hell free card The deal is this you are one of God s chosen few and no matter what you do, you will be undoubtedly ascending the golden stair case to the pearly gates of heaven Cherubim will nudge you gently through the gates while choirs of heavenly angels sing, play their trumpets, herald in tidings of joy and generally get down with all their usual angelic business So, bearing this crucial knowledge in mind, do you go ahead and live an orderly, polite and most importantly morally correct life or do you decide to see how far you can stretch the whole definitely not going to hell type deal Protagonist Robert opts for the latter choice and with a life sized devil at his elbow rather than a cute little one perched on his shoulder, heads out onto the highways and byways of Scotland to mock, molest and murder various people who may or may not have wronged him But its ok, remember, he s still holding that all important pass to heaven As time goes by, and the body count starts to escalate, Robert begins to doubt the infallibility of the heavenly bus pass and the wisdom of some of his recent behaviour But, once you ve welcomed the devil into your life, he s not an easy person to shake like the last person to leave a party, Gil Martin is in for the long haul Now witness Roberts slow descent into madness and he maybe, possibly kills a whole bunch of other people, loses track of time and generally becomes detached from reality or is he in denial Towards the end the whole thing gets a bit inexplicable Is it a morality tale, a Gothic murder mystery, a damning indightment against doctrines of predestination or an early example of a story featuring someone with dissociative identity disorder Maybe it is all of these things Basically you re left to make up your own mind Before you judge Hogg and consider this to be a plot cop out, consider that this book, although basically ignored for ages, was totally ground breaking and introduced the world to a whole new selection of literary tools and devices Wordsworth noted that although Hogg was a genius he was also a man of coarse manners and low and offensive opinions James, if you were alive today, I d definitely be trying to befriend you on Goodreads Geneva Gothic by way of GlasgoworCalvinists on the Verge of a nervous breakdownOne of the great bad good books, or good bad books, one or the other, or even just maybe both Nested unreliable narrators within a clumsy framing narrative or editorial seek to obscure, distance and add veracity to a horror story of sound theology unleashed One of those books that like Janus looks forward as well as back and is powerful in its potential to inspire than in it s ability to deliver on its own terms Reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie I was pointed back to this book, which itself looks back to Doctor Faustus and forward again to Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by way of Paradise Lost Doppelg nger, dualism, fraternal rivalry, divided self, external interior, possession vs psychosis, it s all here and besides Set out within the framing mechanism of a forgotten manuscript found and presented to the reader this Calvinist inspired horror story is set around the year 1700 in Scotland, and features the involvement of a mysterious diabolical figure in a sibling rivalry, or maybe it doesn t, let s allow the narrator to confuse things 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 was a being incomprehensible to myself Either I had a second self, who transacted business in my likeness, or else my body was at times possessed by a spirit over which it had no controul, and of whose actions my own soul was wholly unconscious This was an anomaly not to be accounted for by any philosophy of mine, and I was many times, in contemplating it, excited to terrors and mental torments hardly describable To be in a state of consciousness and unconsciousness, at the same time, in the same body and same spirit, was impossible I was under the greatest anxiety, dreading some change would take place momently in my nature for of dates I could make nothing one half, or two thirds of my time, seemed to me to be totally lost I oftan, about this time, prayed with great fervour, and lamented my hopeless condition, especially in being liable to the commission of crimes, which I was not sensible of, and could not eschew and, I confess, not withstanding the promises on which I had been taught to rely, I began to have secret terrors, that the great enemy of man s salvation was exercising powers over me, that might eventually lead to my ruin These were but temporary and sinful fears, but they added greatly to my happiness. p.182 The confession of the main character makes up the majority of this text, it is framed by an Editor s narrative, the closing part of which says that one James Hogg ie the author wrote a letter to Blackwood s magazine about the mysterious grave of a suicide at the meeting point of three farm s where Hogg worked not as a pig keeper but as a shepherd view spoiler indeed Hogg s USP was that he was the Ettrick Shepherd hide spoiler This book was written in 1824 Why I mention this is because it does take a while to adjust to the vernacular of the text I can t say I was enthralled with the book This book is about Robert, who we know is the murderer of the story The purpose of the book is to show how Robert became who he was and who influenced him to such a degree This book revolves around religious fanaticism and how your beliefs can lead you down strange paths I read this book for an upcoming course I will be taking in Oxford this summer I am hoping that my professor called tutor in Oxford can enlighten me So, what is the best Gothic novel ever written For me there can only be one candidate The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, a nineteenth century Scottish poet and author Hogg wrote it with a straight forward intention as a good macabre tale and as a satire on the Calvinist theology of his native Presbyterian church.But with the passage of time complex readings can be made as an examination of a mind on the brink of collapse or, perhaps import, especially from the perspective of the last century, the way in which people, both individually and collectively can be seduced into crime and I m thinking here not of crime as a social pathology but as a state sponsored practice.So, before proceeding, let me say a word or two about Calvinist theology One of the central tenets is the doctrine of predestination In simple terms this means that one is either bound for heaven or hell irrespective of one s earthly actions God, in other words, has already determined who will be among the Elect and who will be among the Damned He does not do deals so the Catholic teaching of justification by works or the sale of Indulgences is totally without merit It s a complex doctrine, almost impossible to explain in a few words But the important point is this one cannot be removed from the company of the Elect, because God cannot be wrong Earthly actions are of no relevance whatsoever.It is around this that Hogg s novel takes shape The narrator, Robert Wringham, the supposed author of the papers that make up the The Private Memoirs, is approached by a Mephistophelean figure known only as Gil Martin It is Martin who seduces Wringham, telling him that he is among the Elect, convincing him to believe that he is in this august company So, what does it matter what he does in life After all, this great truth cannot be alerted.Convinced of this truth, and now beyond all normal moral boundaries, Wringham is seduced into murder and other crimes So, here in proto type, is the central dilemma later posed in existentialist literature, in the work of people like Dostoevsky and Camus If there is no God, if there are no ethics, then the strong, those beyond the limits of good and evil, can do and act as they will.The book caused an outrage among certain sections of the Scottish Presbyterian community when it was first published in 1824, so much so that subsequent editions had to be modified.The Private Memoirs is a simple yet complex text, well ahead of it s time, in the use of narrative and perspective of stories within stories, of truth as lie, and lie as truth The ambiguity is quite wonderful We never quite know if Gil Martin, who may very well be Satan himself, is real or simply a product of the narrator s disturbed mind Hogg never reveals the full truth I came across Hogg through his interactions with de Quincey, and so I grabbed his most notable work from Project Gutenberg, expecting another Opium Eater about some clever reprobate s adventures through the Victorian If you know anything about this book, then you can imagine my shock and wonder at discovering the story it actually contains.It begins simply enough, as a witty picaresque set in Scotland and making some mockery of self righteousness and Calvinist pre destination in particular But then the thing breaks off, it becomes suddenly clear that it is impossible for it to continue as it began, and we are split off into a second telling of the same events from a new point of view, a la Rash mon This second version is much darker and the prose becomes experimental, until we seem to be dealing with a crazed serial killer attended and impelled by a strange figure who may be the devil himself if indeed he exists, at all.The narrator is what we d call a flat character , as despite his doubts and concerns, he remains static throughout and does not go through a great revelation about his state This can be somewhat frustrating, as often, the only thing we desire of the character is for him to show the slightest bit of self awareness, but the story is also a kind of satire of allegory, and those of us who recall The Pilgrim s Progress, Piers Plowman, and Everyman will see that Hogg s work provides a sort of parallel to Candide , and that the wooden characters are a fuel for mockery, and for deeper thought.Yet I found Hogg s work much interesting than Voltaire s, for as much as Voltaire turned the allegory on its head, in the end that s just an inverted allegory, relying on the same stereotypes for its message, but mocking instead of lauding them Hogg, on the other hand, manages to make the whole thing conflicted, self consuming, deluded, and mad His treatment of Calvinist doctrine might be said to play rather straight, but all the other notions his story is concerned with intermingle and subvert beyond any straightforward interpretation.But for all that, I m not sure what to say about it As a piece of art, it is powerful and unusual, prefiguring existentialist and experimental literature, but for what it all means, I feel somewhat less qualified to say. This book opens with an anonymous Editor offering a 70 page Narrative, the story of what happened here He tells it slyly, almost as if the humor and skewerings in the telling were unintentional It s a Cain and Abel tale, a fratricide This segues into the Private Memoirs and Confessions of the killer, who indeed fancies himself a Justified Sinner Something on the order of the Devil made me do it It is nothing less than a descent into madness.The Editor re appears briefly at the end, explaining how a fella named James Hogg directed him to the killer s journal Well, Hogg mis directed him, but the canny Editor found it anyway.The Editor reads it, and, as I just did, asks himself what it is Is it a religious tract or, rather, a religious parable An allegory Or just the ranting of a maniac Well, it s at least a statement, of the madness of religion There were Gothic turns in the book women change outfits so they couldn t possibly be identified look alikes appear to throw crimefighters off the track enough to annoy But there was humor too, and a wonderful use of the Scottish dialect to distinguish class and insert wisdom Like this, between a horse s ass of a preacher and his servantAre you thankful in your heart, John, for such temporal mercies as these Aw doubt we re a ower little thankfu , sir, baith for temporal an speertual mercies but it isna aye the maist thankfu heart that maks the greatest fraze wi the tongue I hope there is nothing personal under that remark, John Gin the bannet fits ony body s head, they re unco welcome to it, sir, for me John I do not approve of these innuendoes You have an arch malicious manner vending your aphorisms, which the men of the world are too apt to read the wrong way, for your dark hints are sure to have onevery bad meaning Hout na, sir, it s only bad folks that think sae They find ma bits o gibes come hame to their hearts wi a kind o yerk, an that gars them wince That saying is ten times worse than the the other, John it is a manifest insult it is just telling me to my face, that you think me a bad man A body canna help his thoughts, sir A post modernist early 19th century Scottish novel featuring multiple narratives and at least one possibly three unreliable narrators, Sinner is a curious congeries of doppleganger tale, abnormal psychology, moral fable, anti Calvinist satire, and historical fiction with a little comic relief thrown in Part of its attraction may come from its very strangeness, which in turn may be a result of the fact that Hogg is not completely in control of his material, but that in no way diminishes the novel s fascination or its continual power to puzzle and surprise. Set In Early Eighteenth Century Scotland, The Novel Recounts The Corruption Of A Boy Of Strict Calvinist Parentage By A Mysterious Stranger Under Whose Influence He Commits A Series Of Murders The Stranger Assures The Boy That No Sin Can Affect The Salvation Of An Elect Person The Reader, While Recognizing The Stranger As Satan, Is Prevented By The Subtlety Of The Novel S Structure From Finally Deciding Whether, For All His Vividness And Wit, He Is Than A Figment Of The Boy S Imagination This Edition Reprints The Text Of The Unexpurgated First Edition Of , Later Corrected In An Attempt To Placate The Calvinists