Sunday, 11 August 2019

A Recent Essay on Hogg's Highland Journeys

For those interested in the Highland Journeys of James Hogg, a relatively new essay has appeared on the subject. Alex Deans writes on "Pastoral Optimism at Improvement's Frontier: James Hogg's Highland Journeys," in the ten-chapter collection Cultures of Improvement in Scottish Romanticism, 1707-1840, ed. Alex Benchimol and Gerard Lee McKeever (Routledge: 2018). The collection as a whole will be of great interest to those working in the field of Scottish Romanticism. For more information, go to

Cultures of Improvement in Scottish Romanticism, 1707-1840: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover
Image Copyright: Routledge

Monday, 1 April 2019

Scottish Borders Walking Festival

For those of our readers who live near, or would like to travel to, the Scottish Borders, the organizers of the Scottish Borders Walking Festival are now selling tickets. The dates for the festival are 7 - 14 September 2019.  A James Hogg Poetry Walk will be part of the experience.  

The week-long festival is described thus on the Scottish Borders Walking Festival Facebook page:

"Scotland’s longest established walking festival is celebrating its 25th edition! Run by volunteers, with the support of Scottish Borders Council, aiming to provide affordable, varied and interesting guided walks and more in this secret, unspoilt, beautiful part of southern Scotland. Get ready to book your tickets for walks, strolls and a social programme with something for everyone. The website goes live for sales at midnight on 31.03.19. Announcements on walks, special guests and exciting partnerships coming this space!"

On the Visit Scotland webpage detailing this event, we read that "this year’s event will be kicked off by Scotland’s top outdoor writer and presenter of the BBC Adventure Show, Cameron McNeish, who will appear at the festival’s opening night celebrations" 

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Hans Bart de Groot (1939-2019)

The James Hogg Society lost a dynamic and dedicated member last month, Dr. Hans de Groot, Professor Emeritus of the Department of English at the University of Toronto. Hans played a major role in the Hogg Society over the past few decades, not only as the editor (since 2011) of the society’s journal, Studies in Hogg and his World, and of the Stirling / South Carolina Research Edition of Hogg’s Highland Journeys, but also of a series of perceptive and persuasive articles on the works of Hogg. A remarkably humble man, Hans also mentored younger scholars in Scottish Studies with a generosity of spirit not always demonstrated by such well-established professors.

Hans’s contribution to the society must be measured, however, by far more than his scholarship on Hogg. His spirited pursuit of knowledge, passion for performance, dazzling wit, and interesting adventures brought such life and light to all who worked with him in the field of Scottish literature. We will always remember, for instance, how much we enjoyed hearing him sing extempore Hogg’s ‘Donald MacDonald’ at a restaurant in Konstanz, Germany, during one of the society’s biennial conferences. Nor will we soon forget the time that he arrived at a society meeting late only to tell us that he had been waylaid by security (at his own university) who thought he was a suspicious character and threatened to eject him from campus until a long-term librarian vouched for him and he was liberated. Undeterred, Hans led the meeting with characteristic aplomb.

Although the James Hogg Society knew Hans largely in his capacity as a student of the Ettrick Shepherd, he was also well known in a number of fields. Hans published widely on Romantic and Victorian literature, going back to 1968. He published on William Blake, Samuel T. Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sir Walter Scott, John Galt, Isaac d’Israeli, Thomas L. Peacock, W.J. Fox, W.E. Houghton, Christina Rossetti, Mary Howitt, Thomas Carlyle, R.H. Horne, Baden Powell, and Matthew Arnold (among others).

Hans was a theatrical man and it was no surprise, therefore, that he had a love for dramatic and musical performance. In his later years, he chose to teach courses at the University of Toronto on “Opera as Drama” and “Shakespeare into Opera,” while in his early years, he successfully directed productions of William Congreve’s The Way of the World, August Strindberg’s The Stronger and John Arden’s Ars Longa. Hans also served as the music director of a production of Thomas Lodge and Robert Greene’s A Mirror for London and acted in the medieval play Assumption of the Virgin, John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, and even transformed himself into Coleridge for a dramatic reading at the bicentenary of the publication of the Lyrical Ballads in 1998.  His love of music led him to give presentations and to publish articles on the music of Richard Wagner in particular and to write opera reviews for Wagner News.

Given Hans’s enthusiasm for learning and enormous creativity, he also became an excellent organizer of memorable academic (and other) events over the years. He successfully organized symposiums and conferences on such subjects / authors as the 1890s, madness, Blake and the Ancients, James Hogg, William Morris, Virginia Woolf, and Matthew Arnold. 

Regardless of what we spoke with Hans about over the years, he would always return to the topic of that which he valued most: his family. He would often speak of how proud he was of his children (Nicholas, Jonathan, Benjamin, Adrian, and Saskia) and of how happy he was with his wife Rebecca Carpenter. It was comforting to learn that he passed from this life in the presence of those he loved. He will be greatly missed.

--Holly Faith Nelson

Monday, 3 September 2018

The Annual Jack Prize: The International Association for the Study of Scottish Literature

The International Association for the Study of Scottish Literatures (IASSL) is pleased to announce the launch of the annual Jack Prize, to be awarded annually for the best article on a subject related to Reception or Diaspora in Scottish Literatures (including Scots, English, Gaelic and Latin). 

The prize is named in honour of Professor Ronald Dyce Sadler Jack D.Litt. FRSE (1941-2016), Professor of Scottish and Mediaeval Literature at the University of Edinburgh from 1987-2004 and director of the Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation. 

Professor Jack’s work on Scottish literature’s Continental and Italian dimensions was groundbreaking. From his The Italian Influence in Scottish Literature (1972) on, he championed a concept of Scottish literature open to the world and engaged in dialogue with it. This prize of £100 or equivalent is named in his memory and awarded in his honour annually.

Submissions should be sent to Professor Caroline McCracken-Flesher (University of Wyoming:, Convenor of IASSL, by St Andrew’s Day, 30 November 2018.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Jeanie Moffat

We are sorry to record the death of Jeanie Moffat, an early member of the James Hogg Society who served as Secretary for a number of years. Jeanie, who died on 26 July 2018 after a period of illness, was a staunch Borderer whose infectious enthusiasm for James Hogg enlivened many of the Society`s conferences. We are most grateful for Jeanie`s significant contribution to the work of the Society.  

Jeanie Moffat's funeral will be held at the Borders Crematorium, Melrose, Scotland, on Friday, 3 August 2018 at 1:00 p.m.


Saturday, 3 March 2018

James Hogg Poem Discovered in an Album

A poem by James Hogg, handwritten in the album of one Augusta Gow, dated 2 March 1832,  has been discovered by the bookseller Charles Nelson of Kernoozers Ltd. An article on the finding has been published by The Scotsman. It includes a tentative transcription of the poem, a version of which will be included in the upcoming edition of the Uncollected Works of James Hogg, the final volume in the Stirling / South Carolina Research Edition of the Collected Works of James Hogg. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

New Double Issue of Studies in Hogg and his World

A new double issue of Studies in Hogg and his World has now been published. The contents are as follows:

Issue No. 25-26, 2015-2016, Ed. H. B. de Groot

H. B. de Groot and Elaine Petrie, Thomas Crawford 1920-2014


Angela Esterhammer, "Identity Crises and Unaccountable Acts: More Contexts for Hogg's Justified Sinner"

Gillian Hughes, "Hogg's Extremities: Poetry and Advertising"

Gerard Lee McKeever, "'All that I choose to tell you is this': Improvement Confronts the Supernatural in Hogg's Short Fictions"

Ruth Knezevich, "Fronti nulla fides -- that is -- "Put no confidences in Title-pages'": The Responsible Reading of Paratexts in Hogg's Confessions"

Alasdair Thanisch and Peter Thanisch, "James Hog's 'Old Errors digged out of their Graves'"

Thomas Richardson, "'To illustrate something scarcely tangible': The Novels of the Shepherd and L-- of C--d"


Graham Tulloch and Judy King, "Two Further James Hogg Letters"


Songs by the Ettrick Shepherd by James Hogg, edited by Kirsteen Mccue with Janette Currie, and Contributions to Musical Collections and Miscellaneous Songs by James Hogg, edited by Kirsteen McCue with Janette Currie and Megan Coyer
Reviewed by C. M. Jackson-Houlston

Introduction and Notes from the Magnum Opus: Waverley to A Legend of the Wars of Montrose by Walter Scott, and Introduction and Notes from the Magnum Opus: Ivanhoe to Castle Dangerous by Walter Scott, edited by J. H. Alexander with P. D. Garside and Claire Lamont
Reviewed by Graham Tulloch

The Oxford History of the Novel in English: Vol. 3, The Nineteenth-Century Novel 1820-1880 edited by John Kucich and Jenny Bourne Taylor
Reviewed by Ian Duncan

William Maginn and the British Press: A Critical Biography by David E. Latané
Reviewed by Gillian Hughes

Romanticism and Blackwood's Magazine: 'An Unprecedented Phenomenon' edited by Robert Morrison and Daniel S. Roberts
Reviewed by Kim Wheatley

Contemporary Scottish Gothic: Mourning, Authenticity, and Tradition by Timothy C. Baker
Reviewed by Caroline McCracken-Flesher

Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner: Reconstructed by Untitled Projects
Reviewed by Robin MacLachlan