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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  3,673 ratings  ·  237 reviews
Set in eighteenth century Edinburgh, this is a brilliant tale of mystery and evil. The work chronicled the life of a man chosen by god and corrupted due to his boundless power. The work gives an amazing psychological analysis of human mind and explains the causes and consequences of corruption.
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Published January 1st 2006 by ReadHowYouWant (first published 1824)
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Jul 27, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: justified sinners everywhere
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
The 1001 books list says that this is "at once gothic comedy, religious horror story, mystery thriller and psychological study." Way to go James Hogg! Either this book is so deep and complex that no one can actually fathom enough of it to pigeon-hole it in a convincing manner, or it is in fact, everything it says on the tin.

Personally I saw this book as a good example of what might happen when you tell a lot of people that they have an unlimited get-out-of-hell-free card. The deal is this: you
Bill  Kerwin

A "post-modernist" early 19th century Scottish novel featuring multiple narratives and at least one--possibly three--unreliable narrators, "Sinner" is a curious congeries of doppleganger tale, abnormal psychology, moral fable, anti-Calvinist satire, and historical fiction with a little comic relief thrown in. Part of its attraction may come from its very strangeness, which in turn may be a result of the fact that Hogg is not completely in control of his material, but that in no way diminishes th
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
So, what is the best Gothic novel ever written? For me there can only be one candidate: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, a nineteenth century Scottish poet and author. Hogg wrote it with a straight-forward intention: as a good macabre tale and as a satire on the Calvinist theology of his native Presbyterian church.

But with the passage of time more complex readings can be made; as an examination of a mind on the brink of collapse or, perhaps more import, es
I came across Hogg through his interactions with de Quincey, and so I grabbed his most notable work from Project Gutenberg, expecting another 'Opium Eater' about some clever reprobate's adventures through the Victorian. If you know anything about this book, then you can imagine my shock and wonder at discovering the story it actually contains.

It begins simply enough, as a witty picaresque set in Scotland and making some mockery of self-righteousness and Calvinist pre-destination in particular. B
I found this totally addictive and read it in two sittings. He's not the writer Scott was, nevertheless I found the style and tone to be highly readable. In fact, I thought his coarser style was more appealing in many ways.
By turns sinister, terrifying, amusing, fanatical, complex, simple,realistic, supernatural, ludicrous, coarse, lyrical,poetic...All combining to make a wonderful read.
Although not always my cup of tea in novels, I found the multiple narratives to be hugely interesting and enli
Thing Two
Don't wring him, Wringhim.

Someone is saying prayers for me,
The grace I earn I never see,
In all things he do, I interferes,
All I know is trouble as soon as he appears.

Mister Wringhim, Mister Wringhim, Mister Wringhim. I'm gonna wring him.

When I say my prayers my character changes,
My whole mind and body rearranges,
This strange transformation takes place in me,
Instead of myself everybody can see...

Mister Wringhim, Mister Wringhim, Mister Wringhim. I'm gonna wring him.

When you see my brother, make s
Lauren Smith
Oct 08, 2009 Lauren Smith rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lauren by: Luxx (LibraryThing)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
☽ Moon Rose ☯

Predestination is an infallible and rigid belief that God has irrevocably preordained the eternal salvation of some and the condemnation of the rest of mankind. For the elected few whose salvation has already been guaranteed, no past or future transgression could wobble its validity, nor any situation could alter its mandate.

This seemingly amorphous doctrine in Christian theology is from the teachings of St. Augustine of Hippo and of Calvin and James Hogg elucidates this doc
I felt as one round whose body a deadly snake is twisted, which continues to hold him in its fangs, without injuring him, farther than in moving its scaly infernal folds with exulting delight, to let its victim feel to whose power he has subjected himself ….

Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner is one of those works that was experimental at the time it was published, and still reads as pretty experimental almost two hundered years on (it was published in 1824). This is late-Gothic at its most
David Sarkies
Dec 18, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like Gothic Horror
Recommended to David by: Jasmine
Shelves: dark
The dark side of Predestination

I first discovered this book when I was perusing the shelf of a friend of mine from university and the title literally jumped out at me. The first thought that went through my mind was 'wow, this seems to be a good, whole hearted, Christian book' and asked her if I could borrow it. She kindly lent it to me, but I never go to finish it because after a week she asked for it back (having assumed that I have finished reading it, which I hadn't). Anyway, that was the l
Ranting Scottish religious fundamentalist goes a bit bonkers and it all ends in tears. An early book with different viewpoints presented as "found" papers. A few in-jokes, a bit of murder, and some self righteous godbothering. Or is it a study of the descent into mental illness? A bit of work for the modern reader at times but well worth the effort.
I first read this at university, but decided that it was long past time to reread it. In the first few pages, I couldn't see why it had made such a strong impression on me. But by the end of the "Editor's Notes", I'd remembered. And there's so much about it that I'd forgotten - especially the latter part of it. So a rare star upgrade from my original rating.

It tells the story of a 'justified' sinner, who believes he's already one of God's elect on Earth, and therefore his place in Heaven is alre
Of the gothic novels that I've read, this one could most easily be adapted into a modern retelling. It would be perfectly seamless. This is, of course, assuming it hasn't been done already.

The book is divided into two sections. The first is an extended not from the "editor", explaining the circumstances of the case and introducing the second part, the private notes of Robert Wringhim, and the villain of the piece. Robert has been taught from a young age that he is one of the elect, and that wha
Sep 05, 2008 Andrea rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thinkers
Shelves: recommended
A 19th century piece about religious mania.

The book is split into three parts - the first is an account by The Editor (whoever that may be), the second is the actual memoir (and confession), and the final part is a wrap-up, so to speak, by The Editor once again.

I didn't enjoy the first part as much as the second, but I wouldn't have enjoyed the second part as much if I hadn't read the first, if you get what I mean.

I think this book, even though it was first published in 1824, is a timely reminde
One of the most bizarre and compelling books I've ever read. I can't wait to write about it--academically, rather than for fun. That said, I won't waste too much of my time reviewing it here.

This much you should know: three times, you hear the story of Robert Wringhim and his parents, and each telling is different. No teller is impartial, and each version of the events varies greatly. Few things are certain by the end of the novel. Only one thing, I would think, remains certain--absolute faith i
Set out within the framing mechanism of a forgotten manuscript found and presented to the reader this Calvinist inspired horror story is set around the year 1700 in Scotland and features the involvement of a mysterious diabolical figure in a sibling rivalry.
A very confusing novel, "Private Memoirs..." explores, over and over again, the concept of the "double" as a demonic force. A demon (is it Satan? -- probably not, though several characters speculate) entices a religious young man into a "double life" of debauchery and murder. The demon has the ability to resemble whoever's energies he is thinking of at the moment; thereby, several characters have "doubles" in the course of the story. The narrative, further is in two separate parts, the first an ...more
First of all, this edition is optically scanned with numerous errors. So get a different one.

Like a lot I've read recently, it deals with the religious conflicts of 18th century England and Scotland. This book deals specifically with Calvinism and the notion of the elect brethren -- a small group of people whom God has selected from the beginning of time to be let into heaven to the exclusion of everyone else, actions for good or ill on their part or on the part of the damned notwithstanding. A
UNRELIABLE NARRATOR!! META-FICTION!! demons, possession, murders, grave disturbers! what more can you ask for? oh yeah, wonderfully stilted old-fashioned language plus some scottish brogue for good measure. i dare you...READ THIS BOOK!

disclaimer: i know nothing about Calivinism or how to read that layer of the story. but for those of you who do, this book may hold even more (or perhaps less, depending on your view of religion in literature) than it did for me.
The tale of a young religious man in Scotland who believes he has righteousness on his side and this enables him to treat others as beneath him and to commit murder and other 'sins'. The main function of this novel is to highlight the dangers of religious fanatacism and, although it's written a couple of centuries ago, it does seem rather relevant to today's issues.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I would give this book 4.5 if it were possible because I loved it, but more so once I had finished and thought about it all. I read Crime and Punishment just a few weeks ago and whilst the themes are slightly different (existentialism vs Christian doctrine), they are similar in terms of frightful crimes committed and the subsequent psychological and spiritual torment the perpetrator finds himself in. Confessions in my opinion is far superior to C&P, both in the writing style (whilst I do con ...more
A strange, deeply interesting, challenging and, at times, maddening book that looks at the dangers of self-righteousness and a belief in your own religious and moral superiority.

The second child of an extremely unhappy marraige (though his paternity could be in doubt), Robert's father refuses to recognise him and so he goes to live with his fanatically pious mother and the Reverend Robert Wringhim, who fill his head with their own fanatical and strict religious views along with a deep hatred of
Satan leads a man to blasphemy and murder by preaching an extreme version of the Calvinist doctrine of salvation by grace. That being the following: good people, regardless of what they do, are guaranteed salvation.

Things of note:

* It was ignored for a century until Gide wrote of it, “It is long since I can remember being so taken hold of, so voluptuously tormented by any book.”
* It focuses on the consequences of perverting Christian theology.
* It’s primarily satirical, and quite humorous as
I've long known James Hogg as a collector of Scottish songs, particularly Jacobite ones. I'd never known he wrote a novel until very recently. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner is pretty cool, but after reading it I'm not too surprised it isn't better known. It's about a serial killer, Robert Wringham, in early eighteenth century Scotland whose predestinarian views have drifted into antinomianism. Sure that he is God's instrument to chasten evil-doers, he acts accordingly ...more
This book reminded me of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

What I found the most interesting about this novel was the role that religion played in it. How often do you run across a devout Christian who murders with impunity? Ok, scratch that...the Crusades comes to mind. What fascinated me about this book was the way that the protagonist Robert, Wringhim, continually defends his crimes because he is cleansing the world of the non-worthy. In addition, he takes the Calvinist doctrine of
May 23, 2013 Tracy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tracy by: RJ Ashmore
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Set in Scotland at the end of the 17th century, The Private Memoirs... is an "anti-Calvinist" novel in a style that might now be called black humor. The broader theme of religious hypocrisy can be appreciated and the humor enjoyed without needing to know the specific doctrinal disputes of the time.
The trope of having the Devil incarnate as one of the characters reminds me of The Master and Margarita and bearing in mind the centuries and disparate world views that divide the two, I enjoyed it qui
It seems most of the books I'm determined to read until the end always somehow hold me in their grip. That's kind of weird, I think, because it's hard to pinpoint exactly why I read certain books. But they all end up having been a good idea.

I was interested in this because the back of it said it was '[s]et in the gloomy world of 18th-century Scottish Calvinism'. I guess that sounds pretty dorky but it's true.

I guess I don't really want to spoil the plot, or anything, in case anyone who might pos
"We have heard much of the rage of fanaticism in former days, but nothing to this." A fun pre-Victorian tale of demonic possession. This 1824 Scottish novel describes a young man strictly brought up in an extreme Calvinist faith that declares that some small portion of humanity is pre-destined for heaven, and the rest doomed to hell, and that actual good or bad works during one's life are immaterial. On the day that Robert Wringhim Colwan is assured by his spiritual father, a pastor (likely also ...more
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James Hogg was a Scottish poet, novelist and essayist 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 s ...more
More about James Hogg...
The Three Perils of Man Four Tales The Brownie of the Black Haggs The Shepherd's Calendar The Brownie of Bodsbeck and Other Tales

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“With regard to the work itself, I dare not venture a judgment, for I do not understand it.” 14 likes
“…he knew no other pleasure but what consisted in opposition.” 5 likes
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