The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner


  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780141441535
  • 320 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


A new edition of the “greatest novel of Scotland”

James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner is a Scottish classic, a quintessentially Gothic tale of psychological horror, and a relentless attack on Calvinist dogma. The Penguin Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Karl Miller.

Robert Wringham’s family is composed of a dissolute father and brother, a pious mother, and a rival father in the person of a fanatical Calvinist minister. He comes to believe that he is one of the elect, predestined to be saved, while others are damned. Sure of his freedom from the dictates of morality, he embarks on a series of crimes in the company of a new friend Gil-Martin, a man of many likenesses who can be mistaken for Robert, and who explains that they are as one in the holy work of purifying the world. But who is Gil-Martin? And what does he truly desire? The Gothic double or doppelganger is nowhere more powerfully imagined than in Confessions of a Justified Sinner, once called ‘the greatest novel of Scotland’. This new edition has an introduction by Karl Miller, which discusses the presence of the novel in the life and times of James Hogg. It also contains two of Hogg’s most interesting stories, ‘Marion’s Jock’ and ‘John Gray o’ Middleholm’.  

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


“A Scottish classic, a world classic.”
-Ian Rankin

“A sinister, funny, moving tale of demonic possession, murder and religious fanaticism.”
-Sunday Telegraph
PRH Book Clubs Survey