The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (book review) James Hogg,

Margot Livesey (Introduction)


140220: second reading. years (decades...) after first, so i knew what i was getting, as this is one of the first sort of postmodern works i read, or maybe metafiction. at any rate, it is narrative within narrative, genres deliberately confusing from fiction to non, supernatural to psychological, repetition of plot from multiple points of view, radically unreliable first person, no comfort in resolution of first history, at close of deluded confessions, or much later in uncertain publication... is it parable, allegory, madman’s writing etc.?


i am related through aunt a with the author but that is not the reason i love it. or why i return to read it, now much more familiar with nested structures, but rather it is the surreal horror depicted in his clear language, with occasional scots dialect, that has such powerful effect. in reading it again i am able to enjoy the ‘popular’ horror aspect as it becomes inseparable from the psychological reading, of the confessions particularly blinded to itself by fanaticism, in his case religious, and remark how early this work is. this is a case where an original has not been surpassed even if details of beliefs are...


rereading this has been often more a case of recollection than revelation, but even when i have details clear in memory this does not diminish the text. the afterword by Andre Gide suggests that this work is undervalued but that is just back in 1924, i hope it is known better now...

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