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The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
by James Hogg
ISBN 0862413400 / 9780862413408 / 0-86241-340-0
Publisher Canongate Books Ltd
List price $11.00
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Written in 1824, James Hogg's masterpiece is a brilliant portrayal of the power of evil. Set in early eighteenth-century Scotland, the novel recounts the corruption of a boy of strict Calvinist upbringing by a mysterious stranger under whose influence he commits a series of murders. The reader, while recognising the stranger as the Devil, is prevented by the subtlety of the novel's structure from finally deciding whether, for all his vividness and wit, he is more than a figment of the imagination. This is the only complete edition of Hogg's Confessions, since it was first published. All subsequent editions, until now, have altered the text or omitted both the engraved Frontispiece and the (fictional) Dedication. In his notes to the Canongate edition, David Groves discusses the significance of both, in terms of the novels structures and ironies. [via]