James Hogg

(born 1770 - died 1835) - Ettrick Valley, Scottish Borders

Portrait of James Hogg

Born in 1770 in the Ettrick Valley in the Scottish Borders, James Hogg came from an unlikely literary background. (He is sometimes referred to as 'The Ettrick Shepherd'.) Yet his best-known work, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, published in 1824, is judged by many to be one of the greatest Scottish novels ever written, and one of the most famous men of the time, Romantic poet William Wordsworth, published a poem on hearing of his death in 1835.

Hogg’s father was a sheep-farmer and his son followed him into that calling after his schooling was cut short. He read widely however and began writing poetry, contributing some ballads to Sir Walter Scott’s Border Minstrelsy collection. There is no doubt Hogg’s connections with Scott helped him to reach a wider audience and granted him an entry into the literary world of writers and publishers.

James Hogg married in 1821 and the marriage produced five children. He did not give up on his farming background, dividing his time between Edinburgh and the Borders, but his farm was not financially successful, leading him to financial difficulties and bankruptcy. He died in 1835.

Edinburgh University Press are publishing the Collected Works of James Hogg, edited by Douglas Mack and Gillian Hughes.

Key Titles

  • Cover scan of The Brownie Of Bodsbeck And Other Tales
    The Brownie Of Bodsbeck And Other Tales - Hardback
    This title consists of an introductory poem, a short novel, and two stories. Hogg shapes this collection in ways that allow him to explore the life of his native district of Ettrick Forest during the different historical periods.
  • Cover scan of The Collected Letters Of James Hogg
    The Collected Letters Of James Hogg - Paperback
    James Hogg was a prolific writer of letters, and this compilation features his correspondence with the likes of Scott, Byron and Southey. It also includes some of the tender, if idiosyncratic, love letters he wrote to the Dumfriesshire girl he married at the mature age of 49 years old.
  • Cover scan of The Mountain Bard
    The Mountain Bard - Hardback
    This volume brings together the surviving pre-1807 versions of poems included in the original 1807 edition of 'The Mountain Bard', as well as the complete collections featured in the 1807 and 1821 editions.
  • Cover scan of The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner
    The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner - Paperback
    Set in early 18th century Scotland, this novel recounts the corruption of a boy of strict Calvinist upbringing by a mysterious stranger under whose influence he commits a series of murders. Could this stranger be a figment of the imagination, or the devil himself?
  • Cover scan of The Queen's Wake
    The Queen's Wake: A Legendary Tale - Paperback
    'The Queen's Wake' is one of the landmarks of British Romantic poetry. It focuses on the return of Mary, Queen of Scots to Scotland in 1561 to take personal rule of her kingdom after years in France. The text presents both the first and fifth editions of the poem to allow the reader to compare the two.
  • Cover scan of The Three Perils Of Man
    The Three Perils Of Man: War, Women And Witchcraft - Hardback
    Ranging from Galloway to Northumberland, the main focus of this classic work of fiction is in the Scottish Borders. Hogg knew and loved the Borders, and his book is full of their oral tradition and local lore.
  • Cover scan of Electric Shepherd
    Electric Shepherd: A Likeness Of James Hogg - Karl Miller - Paperback
    This is a biography of one of Scotland's most unusual literary figures. With no schooling after the age of seven, James Hogg struggled to write and taught himself the violin. Yet he went on to number such literary giants as Wordsworth and Walter Scott among his friends, and to become a poet and novelist.
  • Cover scan of James Hogg
    James Hogg: A Life - Gillian Hughes - Hardback
    James Hogg's life-story is one of extraordinary transitions. In his own lifetime he was best-known as a heaven-inspired but naive Scottish rustic whose intelligence went largely unacknowledged by his contemporaries.
  • Cover scan of James Hogg's The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Siner
    James Hogg's The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner - Elaine Petrie - Paperback
    The Scotnotes booklets are a series of study guides to major Scottish writers and literary texts aimed at senior pupils in secondary schools and students in tertiary education. The author of each booklet is an authority on the writer or text as well as having experience in teaching at the relevant levels.