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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)

de James Hogg

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2,386366,305 (3.73)2 / 142
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

In James Hogg 1824 novel Confessions of a Justified Sinner, a young man named Robert Wringhim, or sometimes Wringham, encounters a shape-shifting devil. Robert is told that he is one of a small group of people predestined for salvation, and this doppelganger demon convinces him to commit murder and other crimes. Part Gothic novel, part case study in psychology, this is a probing quest into a world of angels and demons, predestiny and fanaticism.

.… (més)
  1. 10
    The Double de Fyodor Dostoyevsky (leigonj)
    leigonj: Another classic doppelganger horror.
  2. 00
    Just Duffy de Robin Jenkins (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: A very good yet neglected book that shares themes with Hogg's and quite possibly the author wrote it with Justified Sinner in mind. Here, the protagonist is an irreligious Hazel Motes in a Lanarkshire slum.
  3. 01
    The Master of the Day of Judgment de Leo Perutz (Pencils)
    Pencils: Both books have unreliable narrators and mysterious events.
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Anglès (34)  Danès (1)  Italià (1)  Totes les llengües (36)
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Religion is a sublime and glorious thing, the bonds of society on earth, and the connector of humanity with the Divine nature; but there is nothing so dangerous to man as the wresting of any of its principles, or forcing them beyond their due bounds: this is of all others the readiest way to destruction. Neither is there anything so easily done. There is not an error into which a man can fall which he may not press Scripture into his service as proof of the probity of


It's a good read, but the problem is that it doesn't really go further than what you'd get from the blurb. Especially once you get to the memoir itself, you've already read "the plot" so to speak and the first person perspective is just him saying "I am part of the elect, wow this is so great" and "this guy who is blatantly the devil is telling me to murder people" and although it's well written it feels predictable and somewhat padded with more events that work out the same way and doesn't really delve into anything deeper.

A strange thing is that the narrative forces you to accept the reality of the supernatural events depicted in the main. There is never any doubt that Gil-Martin *is* the Devil, and there's no doubt he appears completely real to *everyone*, including his shapeshifting abilities. This makes interesting psychological readings harder to sustain. There are several parts which are suggestive of a kind of internal battle, but strangely the fact of the material supernatural makes understanding the sections where it appears it's somehow all in his head much harder. There are a few key sections - when Robert first meets Gil-Martin, when he comes home his mother and stepfather are convinced he has become a genuinely different person. Later on when it appears Gil-Martin is stalking his brother while Robert is sick for a month, he describes feeling like he's two people and yet not actually either person - the two are Gil-Martin and his brother. Near the end he has long gaps in his memory where he apparently both seduced a lady and forged something to force her family off their land, then later murdered her and his mother.

None of these fit in obvious ways with the behaviour of Gil-Martin in the rest of the book and the meaning is lost on me. Gil-Martin in the murders of the pastor and Robert's brother is obviously ensuring that Robert takes 100% of the responsibility (although Gil-Martin also appears to have murdered a judge by himself?) Yet on the memory lapses and the murders he's strangely vague. It feels like a lot more sinning went on and yet we're not only not privy to it but even the Devil doesn't goad him about it. I feel there was stuff going on in the ending that just passed me by


"Surely you are not such a fool," said I, "as to believe that the Devil really was in the printing office?"

"Oo, Gud bless you, sir! Saw him myself, gave him a nod, and good-day. Rather a gentlemanly personage—Green Circassian hunting coat and turban—Like a foreigner—Has the power of vanishing in one moment though—Rather a suspicious circumstance that. Otherwise, his appearance not much against him."
( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
Brilliant and engaging twice told tale. ( )
  brakketh | Aug 15, 2022 |
I LOVE THIS WEIRD BOOK
( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
Not sure I got much from this. Repeating the story from two perspectives and the epilogue which seems to lampshade the idea that the author was going out of their way to be confusing in terms of plot, character and theme left me none the wiser. Read it because Ian Rankin stated his "The Black Book" owed something to this work but I'm afraid I didn't see it. ( )
  ElegantMechanic | May 28, 2022 |
Despite the pretend double-bluff contained within I'm going to go with the critique of Calvinism interpretation. It probably dates me that what I first thought a few chapters in wasn't Jekyll and Hyde but Fight Club. As for the name Gil Martin, it occurs to me that it's phonetically close to God Almighty which would makes sense seeing as he's created by the protagonist and to him that's what he appears to be. Beyond being ahead of its time it's not that exceptional but I really enjoyed it - I liked the multiple angles (both in the context of narration and interpretation). ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Hogg, Jamesautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Blair, DavidIntroduction and notesautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Gide, AndréEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kenny, PeterNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Livesey, MargotIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Miller, KarlEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Rankin, IanIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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It appears from tradition, as well as some parish registers still extant, that the lands of Dalcastle (or Dalchastel, as it is often spelled) were possessed by a family of the name of Colwan, about one hundred and fifty years ago, and for at least a century previous to that period.
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

In James Hogg 1824 novel Confessions of a Justified Sinner, a young man named Robert Wringhim, or sometimes Wringham, encounters a shape-shifting devil. Robert is told that he is one of a small group of people predestined for salvation, and this doppelganger demon convinces him to commit murder and other crimes. Part Gothic novel, part case study in psychology, this is a probing quest into a world of angels and demons, predestiny and fanaticism.

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Mitjana: (3.73)
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Edicions: 0141441534, 014119894X

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