A personal rake through my favourite books for Book Week Scotland
Book 6: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner; with a Detail of Curious Traditionary Facts and Other Evidence by The Editor, by James Hogg (1824)
I haven’t put up a cover image of one of my most favourite books because none of the versions I have do justice to the contents – they don’t quite get the tone or the image across of how I read the book. There are 77 versions of this book listed on Good Reads – nowadays, it’s a popular 19th-century novel. Popular, because different people find different things to like/admire/enjoy. One of the oft-criticised things about Hogg’s writing is that he wrote too much, too quickly, too wide in his range – he’s hard to pin down. A romantic poet, historical novelist, cultural archivist, songwriter, dramatist, satirist, – all things to all men and nothing particularly brilliant because it’s watered down – so they say, those who ‘know’ about literature. I disagree and this book is the best evidence. No one has been able to pin it down, not because it’s bad but because of skilful plotting and ingenious, inventive storytelling.