The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – 1 Nov 2002
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'A Scottish classic, a world classic' Ian Rankin, Observer --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
Set in early eighteenth-century Scotland, James Hogg's masterpiece is a brilliant psychological study of religious fanaticism and the power of evil. Led on by his sinister companion, Gil-Martin, Robert Wringhim commits a series of atrocious crimes. As the novel progresses, however, and the complexity of Wringhim's mind is revealed, the reader begins to doubt whether Gil-Martin even exists.
This edition of The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner places the work within the context of Calvinism, Scottish political and constitutional history, and early psychological theories of "double consciousness." A wide-ranging introduction discusses the novel in relation to its setting as well as to the period in which it was composed. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book consists of two parallel narratives. The first is of an editor, who comes across the strange tale of a murder over 100 years after it occurred. The story is that of two estranged brothers, George Colwan and Robert Wringham. George is the heir to a lairdship, while Robert and his mother are thrown out of the estate because of her religious zeal and the possibility that Robert was fathered by another man (the sinister religious tutor for whom he is named). Burning with hate, Robert stalks George and a series of unpleasant episodes ensue which culminate in George's murder, and the disappearance of Robert and his mother. This is all told as a dry legal matter. The second narrative is Robert's diary, retelling the same events but with a decidedly supernatural twist. It is a brave move by the author to make the least sympethetic character in the book its narrator. Robert's actions are explained because he is morally unconstrained, because he has been told that his place in heaven is assured. As soon as he becomes aware of this, the stranger Gil-martin appears at his side, persuading him to do evil acts in the name of goodness, including the murder of his brother and his eventual flight and suicide.
There is so much to enjoy about this book. It is ostensibly an attack on predestination (the religious view that some people are chosen by God for heaven before they are born, and that nothing that they can do on earth alters this destiny).Read more ›
This makes 'Confessions of a Justified Sinner' an admittedly demanding read, but it is well worth it. We are challenged to accept that no truth can be uncovered in either narrative: the role Hogg gives himself towards the end of the novel allows him to disassociate himself with the editor's quest for the 'truth'. The main question, of course, is whether the Devil-figure, Gil-Martin, is the Devil himself or merely Robert's alter-ego, there to spur him on in to committing deeds his conscience would normally never allow. It should be noted that Gil-Martin first appears after Robert has been assured of his salvation by the abominable Reverend Wringhim. Evidence for and against Gil-Martin's existence appears throughout the novel. But whether he is real or not the point of Gil-Martin is to show that certain, twisted forms of Presbyterianism are sinful - not exactly distanced from the Devil itself, it would seem.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is THE great novel of Scottish literature although one wonders how on earth
did Hogg manage to produce such a piece when some of his other work is not
Will be an interesting read. New condition for cheapest price, perfect seller.Published 11 months ago by Omar Malik
Leant a new word 'Froward', and how they wrote haunting tales a couple of centuries before Stephen King. Read more
Thank goodness for David Blair's introduction, without it I'd have been lost for the context the history and the religious complications stirred up by England's "Glorious... Read morePublished on 13 Oct. 2013 by Eileen Shaw
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