James Hogg is best known for the novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.
First published anonymously, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner was originally presented as a journal from the 17th century which had been discovered and published by an unnamed editor. The events of the novel are narrated twice, first by the editor, and then in the words of the sinner himself. It is mainly written in English, with some sections of dialogue written in Scots. The story is part gothic, part metafiction and part psychological thriller, as well as being one of the earliest examples of modern crime fiction.
His other works include the long poem The Queen’s Wake (1813), his collection of songs Jacobite Reliques (1819), and his two other novels The Three Perils of Man (1822), and The Three Perils of Woman (1823).
Hogg counted Sir Walter Scott as one of his contemporaries, later writing an unauthorised biography. He was sometimes known as The Ettrick Shepherd, which was his pen name for some stories, and a nickname he was given in the widely read series Noctes Ambrosianae, published in Blackwood’s Magazine. This was a satirical, often scathing review series in which Hogg was lampooned mercilessly.
He was a collector of songs and stories, as well as a poet.