HOGG, James. Private Memoirs and Confessions of a
Justified Sinner, The (1824)
La Belle Assemblée, n.s. 30 (Aug 1824): 81.
Since the publication of the Devil’s Elixir, an equally
extraordinary, wild, and incomprehensible production has appeared,
under the title of ‘The Private Memoirs and Confessions
of a Justified Sinner.’ It purports to be written by the
sinner himself, previously to his commission of the crime of suicide;
but, in point of fact, we understand it is from the pen of that
elegant Scotch novelist, Mr. Hogg, the Ettrick shepherd.
The story is constructed upon a relation given, some time ago in
Blackwood’s Magazine, of a suicide’s body having
been discovered in a well-preserved state, after more than a century’s
inhumation. Mr. Hogg’s grand object seems to be to ridicule
the Calvinistical tenet of faith without works. Amidst much mystification
and incongruous absurdity, considerable power is displayed; and,
if the writer had condescended to render himself a little more intelligible,
his success would have been far greater. The most remarkable point,
however, about the work is, the resemblance which it bears, in its
leading feature, to the Devil’s Elixir. In Mr. Hogg’s
book, as in that of the German, the hero has his double,
or demon; and, whether the numerous crimes that are perpetrated
are perpetrated by the hero, or by the demon, Mr.
Hogg himself does not appear to know. We confess our equal inability
to solve the problem.
Notes: The Devil’s Elixir (EN2 1824: 47) is reviewed
in the same issue.
© 2004 Project Director: Professor
Research Associates: Dr Jacqueline
Belanger, Dr Sharon Ragaz;
Database/Website Developer: Dr Anthony