Sunday, 13 December 2015

James Hogg’s Unrepentant Justified Sinner and the Memoirs of the Public Life of James Hog

Alasdair Thanisch and Peter Thanisch[1]

Present-day readers of James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner[2] (abbr. Private Memoirs) may find it difficult to interpret Hogg’s depiction of the religious persuasion of Robert Wringhim and his mentor, Rev. Wringhim. In the past, commentators assumed that those persuasions were intended to be either a bizarre Calvinist jihadism or a satire on Scottish mainstream religion. In this article, we propose the alternative view that the thoughts and actions of the Wringhims are fictionalized parallels of the main religious controversies in Scotland in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Gordon Donaldson summarises the doctrinal tensions within the Church of Scotland (abbr. Kirk) at that time in the following, carefully nuanced terms:

Perhaps there is a narrow borderline between proclaiming that Christ died to save [sinners] and asserting that those who had made an act of commitment and believed themselves numbered among the Elect were assured of salvation irrespective of their way of life.  [Extreme] positions were adopted by – or at any rate attributed to – both sides. At one end of the scale were those who were disposed to eliminate divine action altogether and teach a mere moral code. At the other end justification by faith was distorted into antinomianism.[3]
Those two “ends of the scale” were the subjects of the two major doctrinal controversies in the early eighteenth century Kirk, both of which have fictionalized parallels in Private Memoirs and both of which involved Rev. James Hog (1658?-1736)[4]. Hog was the leader of the Kirk’s evangelical wing, a loose network of like-minded ministers who saw themselves as defending traditional doctrine and ecclesiastical practices. In a forthcoming paper, we discuss Rev. James Hog’s involvement in one of those doctrinal controversies, the so-called Simson affair.[5] In the present paper, we discuss Rev. James Hog’s other doctrinal controversy in which Hog was accused of promoting the heresy of antinomianism. We look at how James Hogg wove that controversy into the plot of Private Memoirs.[6]

Looking back on the period of his life immediately prior to Rev. Wringhim’s pronouncement of his supposed justification, Robert Wringhim explained his lack of repentance for his sins in these terms:

I always tried to repent of these sins […] and though not always successful in my endeavours, I could not help that; the grace of repentance being withheld from me, I regarded myself as in no degree accountable for the failure. (p. 78)

Robert refers to repentance as a grace, reflecting the Calvinist credendum that an individual only starts to experience true repentance at a time of God’s choosing; moreover such repentance is only actually experienced by the elect.[7] James Hogg uses Robert’s self-analysis to articulate what a sizeable minority of early eighteenth century ministers in the Kirk perceived as a widespread malaise of spiritual apathy brought on by the brand of Calvinist doctrine (“hyper-Calvinism”) then prevalent in the Kirk. Robert’s observation concerning his lack of repentance is significant because the role of repentance does (in our opinion) materially affect the plot of Private Memoirs.[8] 

On 14 May 1717, the Kirk’s highest court, the General Assembly, strongly criticized the Auchterarder Presbytery for deviating from the Kirk’s doctrinal stance that repentance must precede justification in an individual’s spiritual life. The Auchterarder Presbytery had been demanding that their candidates for the ministry should adhere to the so-called Auchterarder Proposition:

I believe that it is not sound and orthodox to teach that we must forsake sin in order to our coming to Christ, and instating us in Covenant with God.[9]

Applied to Robert’s case, the Auchterarder Proposition means that Robert’s lack of repentance does not preclude his becoming one of the justified.

Rev. James Hog was a prominent supporter of the Auchterarder Proposition. Hog’s evangelicals included several ministers of the Auchterarder Presbytery, one of whom, John Drummond of Crieff, gave Rev. James Hog a copy of a book, The Marrow of Modern Divinity[10], The Marrow” for short.[11] On the subject of repentance, The Marrow concurred with the Auchterarder Proposition:

No man can turn to God, except he be first turned to God: and after he is turned, he repents.[12]

The Marrow was already known in Scotland and in earlier years, it had even been recommended reading for divinity students[13] without attracting any official opprobrium from the Kirk. However, the Auchterarder Proposition incident caused the hierarchy in the Kirk to become increasingly nervous and defensive. Hog was impressed by The Marrow, but he discovered that it was out of print: Drummond had bought his copy second-hand from an Edinburgh bookseller. One of Rev. James Hog’s strategies for promoting his brand of evangelical Presbyterianism was to arrange for the re-publication of older religious tracts that supported the doctrinal stance of his evangelical party. Consequently, in 1718 Rev. James Hog arranged for The Marrow to be reprinted, writing a highly flattering preface to be included in the new impression. Being no stranger to controversy, Hog would have been fully aware that the Kirk’s General Assembly would see the reprinting as a provocative attempt to flout their recent ruling on the Auchterarder Proposition. Sure enough, in 1720, the General Assembly prohibited recommendations of The Marrow on the grounds that it encouraged the heresy of antinomianism[14]. Principal James Hadow[15] who led the Kirk’s case against The Marrow (and, by implication, against Rev. James Hog), observed that

the Marrow teacheth that repentance goeth not before justification.  […] This Doctrine of Repentance is of very nigh Affinity with the Auchterarder Position […].[16]  

In Private Memoirs, James Hogg alludes to this controversy, sparked by Rev. James Hog, by having Rev. Wringhim announce to a surprised Robert that

I am assured of your acceptance […] your sanctification and repentance unto life will follow. (p. 79, our italics)

Thus the order of repentance in Rev. Wringhim’s soteriological prospectus concurs with the order posited by Rev. James Hog, the Auchterarder Proposition and The Marrow, but goes against the teaching of the mainstream Kirk.[17]

Immediately after the unrepentant Robert is pronounced to be justified, a few words of flattery from his new acquaintance, Gil-Martin, are sufficient to trigger Robert’s fall into the deadly sin of pride[18]: “My spiritual pride being greatly elevated by this address […]” (p. 81). Robert then murdered Rev. Blanchard, a Church of Scotland minister who held views that might seem innocuous to the modern reader, but which were highly controversial during the period in which the novel is set, i.e. the early eighteenth century. Blanchard’s views correspond closely to those of a real-life Church of Scotland minister, John Simson, whom James Hog accused of heresy[19], eventually destroying Simson’s career by getting him banned form teaching and preaching.

To sum up, we are saying that these major events in Robert’s career, that is his supposed justification and his first killing, are both based on the heresy controversies involving Rev. James Hog.

Although there is no direct evidence that James Hogg took an interest in Rev. James Hog, there are several indications that Rev. James Hog’s memoirs[20], published posthumously in 1798, might have come to the attention of James Hogg. Take, for example, the similarities in the layout of the title pages of Hogg’s Private Memoirs (Figure 1) and Hog’s Memoirs (Figure 2).  With respect to the title “The Memoirs of the Public Life of Mr. James Hogg[21], we note that in some of Rev. James Hog’s publications, he is referred to as “Mr.” rather than “Rev.” and his surname is given as “Hogg” rather than “Hog.”  We also note that in both cases, the memoirs are described as "written by himself."

Figure 1. The title page of James Hogg’s Private Memoirs.

Figure 2. The title page of Rev. James Hog’s Memoirs of a Public Life
(Reproduced with the kind permission of the National Library for Scotland)

With regard to the content, Hog’s Memoirs also resemble Hogg’s Private Memoirs in that both contain prefatory remarks written anonymously by someone identified only as “The Editor”[22]. As for the memoirs themselves, consider the second paragraph of Robert’s printed pamphlet:

I was born an outcast in the world, in which I was destined to act so conspicuous a part. My mother was a burning and a shining light, in the community of Scottish worthies, and in the days of her virginity had suffered much in the persecution of the saints. (p. 65)

Compare it with the first paragraph of Rev. James Hog’s Memoir:

[I] was born of religious parents, who had their share of suffering among other conscientious Presbyterians, while persecution raged in Scotland.[23]  

In conclusion, we stress that we do not regard Robert Wringhim’s Private Memoirs as allegorical. We claim, however, that reading this difficult novel can become easier if we interpret some key passages as fictionalized parallels of the life and times of Rev. James Hog.

If our observations are correct, then we have identified yet another double associated with Private Memoirs. In one way a Hog connection can simplify our reading of the novel by making explicable some of the apparently bizarre opinions and behaviour of Robert and Rev. Wringhim.  On the other hand, such a Hog connection would raise difficult questions about how James Hogg the novelist saw himself vis-à-vis Rev. James Hog.

[1] Peter Thanisch, Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland.
[2] James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, ed. Peter Garside (Edinburgh University Press, 2001); henceforth, the title will be given as“Justified Sinner,” with page references given within the text of the article. 
[3] Gordon Donaldson, The Faith of the Scots (London, Batsford, 1990), p. 105.
[4] C.I. Moffat, Junior, "James Hog of Carnock (1658-1734), Leader in the Evangelical Party in Early Eighteenth Century Scotland," PhD Thesis, Faculty of Divinity, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1960. For a more recent account, see John Callow, ‘Hog, James (d.1736?),’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 4 May 2015.
[5] A. Thanisch and P. Thanisch, "James Hog’s 'Old Errors digged out of their Graves,'" forthcoming Studies in Hogg and His World 26 (2015).
[6] A. Thanisch and P. Thanisch, "The Point of Confessions," Studies in Hogg and His World 21 (2010).
[7] Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XV, states that “Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace […] Repentance [is] of such necessity to all sinners that none may expect pardon without it.. [There] is no sin so great that it can bring damnation on those who truly repent.”
[8]  A. Thanisch and P. Thanisch, "The Point of Confessions." 
[9] D. Lachman, The Marrow Controversy 1718-1723 (Edinburgh: Rutherford House Books, 1988), p. 202.
[10] E. Fisher, The Marrow of Modern Divinity (Edinburgh: John Boyd, 1828), Google Books, accessed 1 June 2015; henceforth, the title will be given as The Marrow. This edition contains Rev. James Hog’s preface.  We note that Rev. James Hog’s preface became a standard feature of Scottish printings of The Marrow.
[11] Hogg scholars have tended to over-emphasize the part played by Thomas Boston in the controversy. Although he became more prominent later, at this stage his only role was to recommend The Marrow to Thomas Drummond. See Moffat, "James Hog of Carnock (1658-1734)...," p. 248.
[12] Fisher, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, p. 129.
[13] James Hog was already aware of The Marrow before he borrowed the book from John Drummond. James Osburn, Professor of Divinity at Marischal College, University of Aberdeen from 1697 to 1711, used to recommend the book to his students and Hog originally found out about it from that source. See Lachman, The Marrow Controversy 1718-1723, p. 261. 
[14] H.B. de Groot, "Calvinism, Presbyterianism, Antinomianism: The Theological Background of the Confessions," Studies in Hogg and His World 21 (2011), pp. 34-47.
[15] James Hadow was Principal of St. Mary’s College, St. Andrew’s University from 1707 until 1747. See D. F. Wright, "Hadow, James (1667–1747)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 31 May 2015.
[16] James Hadow, The Antinomianism of The Marrow of Modern Divinity detected. Wherein the letter to a private Christian, about believers receiving the law, as the law of Christ, is specially considered (Edinburgh, 1721), pp. 36-37 Eighteenth Century Collections Online, accessed 15 May 2015.
[17] We concur with Crawford Gribben’s observation that Wringhim’s system of theology is "totally unrepresentative of the orthodox Calvinism of any of the Scottish Presbyterian churches." See Crawford Gribben, "James Hogg, Scottish Calvinism and Literary Theory," Scottish Studies Review 5.2 (2004), pp. 9-26.
[18] A. Thanisch and P. Thanisch, "The Point of Confessions." 
[19] A. Thanisch and P. Thanisch, "James Hog’s 'Old Errors digged out of their Graves.'" 
[21] Hogg, Justified Sinner, Title page.
[22] Hogg, Justified Sinner, page iii.
[23] Hogg, Justified Sinner, p. 9.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

New Book Published on the Works of James Hogg

Dr. Meiko O'Halloran's new study of the works of James Hogg is now available from Palgrave Macmillan. It is entitled James Hogg and British Romanticism: A Kaleidoscopic Art. Its contents are summarized by the publisher thus:

"The book argues for Hogg's centrality to British Romanticism, resituating his work in relation to Romantic contemporaries who include Byron, Blake, Scott, Baillie, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, and Keats, and tracing his important inter-textual relationships to predecessors such as Spenser, Shakespeare, Johnson, Sterne, Gray, Collins, Macpherson, and Burns. Hogg creates a unique literary style which, the author argues, is best described as 'kaleidoscopic' in view of its similarities with David Brewster's kaleidoscope, invented in 1816. This ambitious and ground-breaking study not only sheds new light on Hogg's relationship with British Romanticism, but urges a re-thinking of Romanticism itself. It offers original new critical readings of a spectrum of Hogg's key works in a range of genres, demonstrating how his kaleidoscopic literary practice unsettles and reshapes our canonical understanding of the Romantic period and his place in it."

 © Palgrave Macmillan

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Article in the National Post about Theatrical Production of Hogg's Confessions

There is a very interesting article in the National Post (August 18, 2015) about the upcoming performance of a theatrical adaptation of James Hogg's Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. The play will open at the Edinburgh International Festival on August 19, 2015 and the final performance will take place on August 22, 2015.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Most Recent Issue: Studies in Hogg and his World

Studies in Hogg and his World (2014)


Ross Roy 1924 – 2013
Kenneth Simpson 1943 – 2013
Karl Miller 1931 – 2014

The 2014 Hugh MacNaughtan Lecture
James Robertson, “Strange Case of Dr Jekyll, Mr Hogg and the Reverend Gideon Mack”

Nicholas M. Williams, “‘The liberty wherewith we are made free’: Belief and Liberal Individualism in James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

H.B. de Groot, “The Limits of Sympathy: John Wilson, William Wordsworth, Adam Smith”

Gillian Hughes, "Two Poems on a Painting by Alexander Carse"

Work By James Hogg
James Hogg, “On the Necessity of Affording Protection and Accommodation to Farmers, Drovers, and Graziers,” ed. Jon Mee, with an additional note by Gillian Hughes

Robert Fergusson and the Scottish Periodical Press by Rhona Brown. Reviewed by Gillian Hughes

Burns and Other Poets, edited by David Sergeant and Fiona Stafford. Reviewed by Leith Davis

Robert Burns and Friends: Essays by W. Ormiston Roy Fellows, edited by Patrick Scott and Kenneth Simpson. Reviewed by Rhona Brown

Revising Robert Burns and Ulster: Literature, Religion and Politics, c. 1770-1920, edited by Frank Ferguson and Andrew R. Holmes. Reviewed by Corey E. Andrews

The Edinburgh Companion to Sir Walter Scott, edited by Fiona Robertson. Reviewed by Graham Tulloch

The Life of Sir Walter Scott by John Macrone, edited with an Introduction by Daniel Grader. Reviewed by J. H. Alexander

Jamieson’s Dictionary of Scots: The Story of the First Historical Dictionary of the Scots Language by Susan Rennie. Reviewed by Margaret A. Mackay

Conflicted Life: William Jerdan, 1782–1869, London Editor, Author and Critic by Susan Matoff.  Reviewed by Tim Killick

The Novels of Walter Scott and his Literary Relations: Mary Brunton, Susan Ferrier and Christian Johnstone by Andrew Monnickendam and Women Writers and the Edinburgh Enlightenment by Pam Perkins. Reviewed by Ian Duncan

Scottish and Irish Romanticism by Murray Pittock. Reviewed by Ian Dennis

Romantic Writing and the Empire of Signs: Periodical Culture and Post-Napoleonic Authorship by Karen Fang. Reviewed by Kim Wheatley

The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland. Volume 2, Enlightenment and Expansion 1707 – 1800, edited by Stephen W. Brown and Warren McDougall. Reviewed by Paul Barnaby

Henry Raeburn: Context, Reception and Reputation, edited by Viccy Coltman and Stephen Lloyd. Reviewed by H. B. de Groot

The Doctor Dissected: A Cultural Autopsy of the Burke & Hare Murders by Caroline McCracken-Flesher. Reviewed by Silvia Mergenthal

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Upcoming James Hogg-Related Events at the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, August 7-31, 2015

Source: "Edinburgh," Wikipedia

1. Paul Bright's Confessions of a Justified Sinner. Reconstructed by Untitled Projects, August 19-22, 2015, 8:00 p.m. at The Queen's Hall (about 2 hours). 

2. Andrew Graham-Dixon, Festival Insights: The British Gothic, August 17, 2015, 2:30 p.m. (about 75 minutes) at The Hub.

3. Andrew Graham-Dixon, Professor Penny Fielding, and Professor Randall Stevens, Festival Insights: The Scottish Supernatural, August 17, 2015, 4:00 p.m. (about 75 minutes) at The Hub. 

2015 James Hogg Society Conference: Some Reflections

Some participants at the James Hogg Society conference, April 2015
Steps of Victoria College at the University of Toronto

The 2015 James Hogg Society Conference was held in Toronto, Canada on 9-12 April 2015.  The conference, which was coordinated by Dr. Hans de Groot together with Programme Directors Dr. Sharon Alker and Dr. Holly Faith Nelson, was co-sponsored by Victoria College, University of Toronto, and the Department of English, University of Toronto.  More than thirty delegates from across the globe gathered to listen to and discuss a full programme of stimulating and enjoyable papers about Hogg and his world, as well as to meet friends and colleagues, old and new.  

It was a particular pleasure that the conference members included both Bruce Gilkison, a direct descendant of James Hogg, and Jamie Laidlaw, a direct descendant of the Laidlaw side of the family.

The conference opened with  the third in the series of Douglas Mack Lectures, given in memory of the Society’s founder, when  Professor Angela Esterhammer of the University of Toronto spoke on the subject ‘Identity Crises and Unaccountable Acts: More Contexts for Hogg’s Justified Sinner.

Bruce Gilkison
Standing beside the plaque dedicated to Captain William Gilkison (1777-1833)
Elora, Ontario

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Scots-Speaking Underdogs Outsmarting ‘Standard’ English-Speaking Authority Figures: From Dougal Graham’s Chapbooks to James Hogg’s Confessions

Alasdair Thanisch[1] and Peter Thanisch[2]

Following the 1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England, England’s language of officialdom was adopted in Scotland, with just a few distinctively Scots words and constructs surviving. So-called “Standard English” became Scotland’s language of religion and education, as well as of government. Inevitably, the prestige of Standard English resulted in its adoption by Scotland’s aspiring middle classes. By the second half of the eighteenth century, middle-class Scots were taking elocution lessons in Standard English. The best-known teacher of elocution at that time, Thomas Sheridan, told his Edinburgh audience that all dialects other than Standard English (or, to use Sheridan’s terminology, ‘court’ English) had ‘some degree of disgrace annexed to them.’a This linguistic colonialism divided the Scottish literati in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with some authors ridding their work almost entirely of ‘Scotticisms,’ whilst others, most notably Robert Burns and James Hogg, used Scots ‘vernacular’ to great effect.

James Hogg excelled at writing dialogue in which the participants had different voices and dialects, especially pitting a speaker of Standard English against a Scots speaker. Typically, when Hogg writes such dialogue, the participants’ speech patterns reflect their respective positions in society: the speaker of Standard English is educated and an authority figure, whereas the Scots speaker is uneducated and from the underclass. In James Hogg’s Confessions,b the Scots speaker invariably gets the better of such encounters. Hogg writes the dialogue in such a way that the Scots speaker is seen to rely on his or her native wit. Furthermore, Hogg depicts the marginalized Scots speaker as having a better grasp of the wider context than that possessed by the speaker of Standard English.   

Here are some example dialogues from Confessions that conform to this pattern:

1. The beadle, John Barnet, squares up to Rev. Wringhim in the manse garden:

"Well, John, this is a fine day for your delving work."
"Ay, it's a tolerable day, sir."
"Are you thankful in heart, John, for such temporal mercies as these?"
"Aw doubt we're a' ower little thankfu', sir, baith for temporal an' speeritual mercies; but it isna aye the maist thankfu' heart that maks the greatest fraze wi' the tongue."
"I hope there is nothing personal under that remark, John?"
"Gin the bannet fits ony body's head, they're unco welcome to it, sir, for me."

2. The servant, Bessy Gillies, avoids incriminating Bell Calvert without perjuring herself in her courtroom encounter with a lawyer:

"And, when you went home, what did you find?"
"What found we? Be my sooth, we found a broken lock, an' toom kists."
"Relate some of the particulars, if you please."
"Sir, the thieves didna stand upon particulars: they were halesale dealers in a' our best wares."

3. The jailer in the Edinburgh tollbooth demonstrates a commendable level of professionalism when told by his prisoner, Robert Wringhim, that Robert has a commission to slay him, though one might expect that a jailer would be the authority figure vis-à-vis a prisoner. Here is a part of Robert’s account of his conversation with his jailer:

‘Friend,’ said I, ‘I am making my appeal at the bar where all human actions are seen and judged, and where you shall not be forgot, sinful as you are. Go in peace and let me be.’

‘Hae ye naebody nearer-hand hame to mak your appeal to, man?’ said he, ‘because an ye haena, I dread you an’ me may be unco weel acquaintit by an’ by?’


This form of dialogue did not originate in the works of James Hogg. The highly popular mid-eighteenth century author Dougal Grahamc (bap. 1721, d. 1779) was using the form to good effect in the 1750’s. Dougal Graham was the most popular author in Scotland in the eighteenth century.  His parents were poor, but he received at least some formal education. He was hunchbacked, lame, and less than 5 feet tall.

Graham usually published his writing in the form of ‘chapbooks,’ d,e small, cheaply-produced booklets. Chapbooks had a large circulation in Scotland, mainly at the “lower end” of the market.  The examples we give below are from one of Graham’s chapbook stories called The Whole Proceedings of Jockey and Maggie’s Courtship.f The background to the story is that Jockey, who is engaged but not married, has become a father. In the eighteenth century, the Church of Scotland regarded this as a sin (‘fornication’) and those involved were expected to confess and repent in public on ‘the black stool.’ 

Incidentally, that story-line might have had a particular resonance for James Hogg, who had first-hand experience of the Church of Scotland's position on the public confession of sin. Following the births of Hogg's two illegitimate daughters, confessions of sin had to be made before the Kirk Session and he had to stand on the penitent's stool.g,h 

As you can see from David Allan’s painting from about this period, the term ‘stool’ could be figurative: some churches used actual stools for penance, whereas others, such as the one in Allan’s painting, invested in more elaborate structures.

Figure 1. 'The Black Stool', by David Allan

Both Jockey and his mother (‘mither’  in Scots; abbreviated in the dialogue to ‘Mith’) object to Jockey having to perform this type of confession and repentance and Jockey’s mither intercedes on Jockey’s behalf to the Session (i.e. the committee of elders, chaired by the minister, which ruled on such matters in those days). In the eighteenth century, a minister was addressed as ‘Mess,’ an abbreviation of ‘maister’ which is the Scots form of the Latin word ‘magister’:

Mess John. […] What's the reason you keep your son so long back from answering the session? you see it is the thing you are obliged to do last.

Mith. Deed sir, I think there needs na be nae mair wark about it, I think whan he's gien the lazy hulke, the mither o't, baith meal and grots to maintain't, ye need na fash him, he's a dutifu; father indeed, weel a wat, whan he feeds his ystart sae well.

Mess John. Woman are you a hearer of the gospel? that you despise the dictates of it, how come you to despise the discipline of the church? is not offenders to be rebuked and chastised?

Mith. Yes stir, a’that is very true, but I have been three or four times throw the Bible […] and I never saw a repenting stool in’t a’; than what cou’d the first o’ them come frae, the Apostles had nane o’ them. […]  wi’s pay the buttock mail and mak na mair about it. 

Jockey’s mither points out that the church has no biblical authority for its practice of forcing people to do penance on the black stool. She ends up by saying that she will pay ‘buttock mail’. This was the widely-used name for the tariff charged by Church of Scotland churches: the more you paid them, the less public humiliation would be your penance. It was the Church of Scotland's equivalent of the medieval church's sale of indulgence.

We have mentioned that the people who bought Dougal Graham’s chapbooks tended to be poor, rather than ‘respectably’ middle class. Hence his typical reader would be a Scots speaker, one who is likely to have had a confrontation with a Standard English-speaking authority figure. His readers might well have appreciated Jockey’s mither’s prowess in dealing with such situations.

Interestingly, these kinds of chapbooks circulated in the eighteenth century without drawing much opposition from the church. It was only in the nineteenth century that the church started to condemn them as ‘ungodly.’


a. Katharine Glover, Elite Women and Polite Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland. St Andrews Studies in Scottish History (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2011), 103.

b. James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, ed. Ian Duncan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). All quotations from Confessions are from this edition and page numbers are given within the body of the article. 

c. William Donaldson, ‘Graham, Dougal (bap. 1721, d. 1779).’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004.

d. The Scottish Chapbook Project, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina, 2002.

e. G. Ross Roy, "Some Notes on Scottish Chapbooks," Scottish Literary Journal 1 (1974): 50-60.

f. Dougal Graham, The Whole Proceedings of Jockey and Maggy: In Five Parts  (Glasgow: J. & M. Robertson, 1777).

g. Gillian Hughes, James Hogg: A Life (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007), 74.

h. James Hogg, The Collected Letters of James Hogg: Volume 1, ed. Gillian Hughes (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004), 314.

[1] Master’s Student, Women’s Studies, Humanities Division, University of Oxford, UK; Alasdair; 
[2] Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland;

Sunday, 15 February 2015

James Hogg and His World Conference: Tentative Programme

“James Hogg and His World”

James Hogg Society Conference (2015)
Tentative Programme
April 9 - 12, 2015

Presented By:
The James Hogg Society

Cosponsored By:
Victoria College in the University of Toronto and
The Department of English, University of Toronto

Conference Coordinator:
Hans de Groot, 
University of Toronto

Programme Directors:
Sharon Alker (Whitman College) and
Holly Faith Nelson (Trinity Western University)

Conference Hotel: Holiday Inn, 280 Bloor Street West, Toronto, (416) 968-0010
Location: All academic sessions will be held in Alumni Hall, Victoria College


James Hogg Exhibition Opening
3:30 p.m. Lobby of the Pratt Library at Victoria College

4:30 pm–6:00 pm Victoria College, Old Building, in the Lobby outside Alumni Hall

5:00 pm–6:30 pm

Official Opening       
6:30 pm Professor Alan Bewell, Chair of English, University of Toronto
Douglas Mack Lecture          
Professor Angela Esterhammer, University of Toronto, “Identity Crises and Unaccountable Acts: More Contexts for Hogg's Justified Sinner

PANEL 1:  9:10 am–10:50 am
Hogg’s Literary Networks and the Periodical Press

Chair: Terry Robinson
  • Yuri Cowan, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, “A Detail of Curious Traditionary Facts”: The Justified Sinner and the Scots Mummy In and Out of the Pages of Blackwood’s” 
  • Koenraad Claes, University of Kent, “‘A Reflection of the Things Around Him’: The Reception of Hogg and other Scottish Authors in the Lady’s Magazine” 
  • Jennifer Scott, Simon Fraser University, “Blackwood’s in the Backwoods: Transatlantic Authorship and the Tory Periodical”   
  • Gillian Hughes, University of Edinburgh, “Hogg’s Extremities: Poetry and Advertising”

Coffee Break: 10:50 am–11:05 am

PANEL 2:  11:05 am–12:45 pm
New Approaches to Hogg

Chair: Penny Fielding
  • Ian Duncan, University of California, Berkeley, “Bad Hogg”
  • Scott R. MacKenzie, University of British Columbia, “James Hogg and His Animals”
  • Megan Coyer, University of Glasgow, “James Hogg and the Medical Blackwoodians: Some New Critical Approaches”
  • Antony Hasler, St. Louis University, “Fathers Should Be Drowned At Birth’: Allusion and Adaptation in Thomas Wilsons Opera Confessions of a Justified Sinner
 Lunch: 12:45 pm–1:30pm
PANEL 3:  1:30 pm–3:10 pm
Confessions Then and Now

Chair:  Corey Andrews 
  • Peter Thanisch, University of Tampere, “A Peculiarly Scottish Obsession with Confession
  • Charles Rousseau, University of Cambridge, “The Allegorical Subject: Fanaticism and The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
  • Ruth Knezevich, University of Missouri, “Hogg’s World of Readers:  Reader Responsibility and Responsible Reading in The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
  • Sarah Murchison, University of Aberdeen, “Deceit and Duality: James Hogg’s Confessions of a Justified Sinner and Contemporary Crime Fiction”

 Coffee Break: 3:10 pm-3:20 pm

PANEL 4: 3:20 pm – 5:00 pm
Domestic, National, and International Spaces

Chair: Juliet Shields 
  • Bruce Gilkison, “Hogg and the New Zealand Connection”
  • Sharon Alker, Whitman College, and Holly Faith Nelson, Trinity Western University, “The Siege Inside and Out: Hogg’s Three Perils of Man
  • Caroline McCracken-Flesher, University of Wyoming, “No Going Home in The Three Perils of Woman
  • Sarah Sharp, University of Edinburgh, “‘When Fire Is Set to the Mountain’: James Hogg’s ‘Terrible Letters’ and the Politics of National Epidemic”
5:00 pm
Business Meeting
Regent’s Room (GC206) in the Goldring Student Center at 150 Charles Street West (to the North of the old building at Victoria College and across the street)


PANEL 5:  9:10 am–10:50 am
Literary & Historical Relations: Varieties of Influence – Part I

Chair: Caroline McCracken-Flesher
  • Corey Andrews, Youngstown State University, “The ‘Only Worthy Successor’ of Robert Burns: James Hogg’s Poetic Inheritance”
  • Hans de Groot, University of Toronto, “Harmonization and Tonality in the Songs of Burns and Hogg”
  • Juliet Shields, University of Washington, “The Ettrick Shepherd in New York; or, How John Galt made use of Hogg”
  • Zubin Meer, York University, “The Fictional Presentation of Self-Delusion in Galt and Hogg: An Overlooked Episode in the Discovery of the Unconscious” 
Coffee Break: 10:50 am–11:05 am

PANEL 6: 11:05 am–12:45 pm
Literary and Historical Relations: Varieties of Influence – Part II

Chair: Robin MacLachlan
  • Thomas Richardson, Mississippi University for Women, “‘To illustrate something scarcely tangible’: The Novels of the Shepherd and L—t of C—d”
  • Penny Fielding, University of Edinburgh, “Hogg, Law and Testimony:  ‘The Barber of Duncow’ and the trial of Philip Stansfield”
  • Magdalene Redekop, University of Toronto, “Alice Munro and The Ettrick Shepherd: The View from Maverley”
Lunch: 12:45 pm–1:30 pm

PANEL 7: 1:30 pm–2:30 pm
Contributions to Various Periodicals: A Work in Progress

Chair: Adrian Hunter
  • Adrian Hunter, University of Stirling
  • Barbara Leonardi, University of Stirling

Coffee Break: 2:30 pm–2:45 pm

PANEL 8: 2:45 pm–4:30 pm
Modes of Authorship and Readership

Chair: Scott Mackenzie
  • Mark Ittensohn, University of Zurich,   “Reading and Writing the Literary Field: James Hogg’s Poetics of Cyclical Exchange”
  • John Wallerius Hoy, “Identifying Characters with Those Then Living”
  • Christine Marie Woody, University of Pennsylvania, “Hostile Personalities: Embodying authorship in Blackwood’s Magazine
  • Barbara Leonardi, University of Stirling, “Tibby Hyslop’s Respectable Spinsterhood”

7:00 pm                                 
Banquet:  Trattoria Fieramosca, 36a Prince Arthur Avenue
  • Banquet Speaker: Professor Peter Richardson, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, University of Toronto
  • Banquet Recital: Meredith Hall, soprano, and Bernard Farley, guitar; songs by Burns and Hogg


Excursion to Elora:  Bus leaves the Holiday Inn at 9:15 am
  • Excursion to the village of Elora where you might choose to see the village and/or attend the church service at the Anglican church (which has an all-professional choir).
  • We will then have lunch at the Aberfoyle Mill.
  • If you let Hans de Groot know by Saturday, he can organize a stop at the airport on the way back. We should be at the airport by about 3:30 pm. We should return to the hotel by about 4:30 pm.