Published in 1824, this was a hundred years ahead of its time, and it's just now coming to be appreciated. Is it a gothic novel? A meta-novel? A precursor of magic realism? A warning against religious fanaticism? The book hinges on the extreme Calivinist concept of antinomianism: if you're predestined to be saved, you'll end up in heaven no matter what outrageous sins and crimes you commit. This obviously raises interesting moral dilemmas. Hogg was a contemporary and friend of Sir Walter Scott, but while Scott's prose sometimes puts modern readers to sleep, Hogg is more likely to keep you awake at night.
About the Author
James Hogg (1770-1835) was a Scottish poet and novelist who wrote in both Scots and English. As a young man he worked as a shepherd and farmhand, and was largely self-educated through reading. He was a friend of many of the great writers of his day, including Sir Walter Scott, of whom he later wrote an unauthorized biography. He became widely known as the "Ettrick Shepherd", a nickname under which some of his works were published, and the character name he was given in the widely read series Noctes Ambrosianae, published in Blackwood's Magazine. He is best known today for his novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. His other works include the long poem The Queen's Wake (1813), his collection of songs Jacobite Reliques (1819), and his two novels The Three Perils of Man (1822), and The Three Perils of Woman (1823).