History Main / ThePrivateMemoirsAndConfessionsOfAJustifiedSinner

28th Mar '13 8:28:42 PM Xtifr
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->FIDELI CERTA MERCES.\\
"An assured reward for the faithful one", the motto on the title page of Robert Wringhim's titular memoirs.

It sounds like it ought to be an AwfulBritishSexComedy, but in fact James Hogg's Scottish novel dates from 1824 and is thankfully lacking in pinging bras, creaking bedsprings and window cleaners. Instead, this is the tale of Robert Wringhim, the younger son of the Laird of Dalcastle. His father, who he has been raised by his pious mother to despise as an unrepentant sinner, has no time for him. Lord Dalcastle suspects that he is the illegitimate son of his estranged wife and her religious adviser (whose name he shares and who is effectively his stepfather). Robert won't be inheriting anything on his father's death - that's all going to his elder and more popular brother, George Colwan - and he regards himself as an outcast, although his stepfather has assured him that he is predestined to be one of God's elect. Then one day, as Robert walks through the fields alone, he encounters a mysterious and apparently powerful young man called Gil-Martin, who has a few suggestions about how he can sort out all his problems...

The book is Scotland's own version of ''Faust'', and, although Hogg himself was a devout Calvinist, it's a cautionary tale of just how wrong you can go when fired up with the idea that God has guaranteed your salvation in advance. Hogg, who lived from 1770 to 1835, was a former shepherd from Ettrick in the Scottish borders (which unsurprisingly got him the nickname, "The Ettrick Shepherd"). He became well-known from 1813 on for writing poetry on Scottish themes in a similar vein to some of that of his friend Sir Creator/WalterScott. He also wrote other novels and short stories, but this tends to be the one that is remembered. For a nineteenth century horror novel, it's unusually subtle. We're not left entirely sure of who Gil-Martin was or even how real he was.
----
!! Tropes include

* AmoralAttorney - Lawyer Linkum is quite prepared to forge an old deed to enable Robert to gain control over the land of the mother of a girl he wants to seduce, and hence over the girl herself.
* ApocalypticLog - The last few pages of Robert's own narrative, which are presented as diary entries, are this.
* AristocratsAreEvil - None of the upper-class characters come out of this looking too good. Lord Dalcastle is a boozy debauchee, Lady Dalcastle is fanatically religious (although she gets some CharacterDevelopment), Robert is a villainous hypocrite when he's not holding the IdiotBall and even his brother George is portrayed as a hot-head who's rather too fond of the ladies himself. This may well be connected to Hogg's early, impoverished days as a shepherd and tenant farmer.
* ArrangedMarriage - The source of all the problems in the novel is Lady Dalcastle's to Lord Dalcastle. Her father is a wealthy merchant and it's strictly for MoneyDearBoy.
* TheCavalierYears - The action of the novel, which starts in 1687, takes place towards the fag-end of this period.
* DealWithTheDevil - The whole point of the book, and it's all the more remarkable that until very near the end Robert (unlike Faust) has no idea what he's done.
* EvilTwin - Robert comes to believe that he has one towards the end of the book, as he has no recollection of some of the evil deeds of which he is accused. As discussed elsewhere, it's never quite clear if this is true [[spoiler: and attributable to Gil-Martin's demonic powers]] or if Robert's mentally unstable and amnesiac.
* TheFundamentalist - Both Wringhims are this. Gil-Martin claims to share their ideas but puts what you might call a unique twist on them...
* GoodShepherd - Mr Blanchard, the elderly minister [[spoiler: who is Robert and Gil-Martin's first victim]] is presented as this.
* GoodBadGirl - Miss Logan, Lord Dalcastle's housekeeper and mistress, who plays a major part in Robert's eventual downfall.
* HidingBehindReligion - Both Robert and his stepfather are repeatedly accused of this by other characters, to the extent that one even says that this shared trait is proof that the elder Wringhim is his biological father. It's open to debate to what extent either of them are conscious hypocrites, however, as opposed to morally blinded by their extreme views on predestination.
* HotForPreacher - Lord Dalcastle's take on Wringhim Senior's relationship with his wife. They certainly seem unusually close for a minister and his pupil.
* IdiotBall - Held by Robert for most of the time. In spite of an intensely religious education, when he meets a mysterious dude with amazing powers who encourages him to do naughty things, it never occurs to him to think, "Hey, maybe I'm dealing with the [[spoiler: Prince of Darkness]] here." Of course, the plot would collapse if he did, which is the reason this trope exists. Hogg is also able to milk this blindness for rather dark comedy. Gil-Martin is given to making ambiguous statements which Robert invariably puts an innocent interpretation on where the reader can see the moustache-twirling villany. Asked if all his subjects are Christians, he says "All my European subjects are, or deem themselves so...and they are the most faithful and true subjects I have." Robert takes this as evidence that Gil-Martin is...
* KingIncognito - Robert thinks Gil-Martin is Peter the Great of Russia, who actually did visit Western Europe incognito for several years towards the end of the seventeenth century.
* LouisCypher - [[spoiler: Gil-Martin. Or is he?]]
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane - Most of the novel is written in two sections, the first written by "the Editor" who has found Robert's papers [[spoiler: on his long-buried body]] and who recounts the traditions surrounding him and his family and the second Robert's own version of events. Because the traditions derive from third party accounts and Robert is an UnreliableNarrator, it's never entirely clear how far this is supposed to be genuinely the work of the Devil and how far Robert is simply a delusional religious maniac.
* PretentiousLatinMotto - See the page quote. It's also scarily ambiguous, and that's quite deliberate.
* ServileSnarker - Wringham Senior's servant, John Barnett, is openly unimpressed with both of the Wringhims. Unlike many of this kind of character, he doesn't get away with it in the end. Later on, Robert's own valet, Sam Scrape, is also pretty outspoken.
* SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny - This fits Robert's attitude to sex to a tee. Accused (correctly) of seducing a woman, he responds, "But the mention of such a thing as ''amours'' with any woman existing, to me, is really so absurd, so far from my principles, so far from the purity of nature and frame to which I was born and consecrated, that I hold it as an insult, and regard it with contempt."
* EgocentricallyReligious - Arguably, Robert, who pretty much considers his status as one of the elect means God will let him get away with anything.
* UnreliableNarrator: The narrative from Robert's viewpoint is clearly twisted to show him in a better light, especially regarding the circumstances of [[spoiler:his brother's death]]. However, Hogg goes one step beyond and also makes the "editor's" narrative unreliable as well, since it reflects a strictly rationalist viewpoint that cannot accept the existence of any supernatural elements.

----

to:

->FIDELI CERTA MERCES.\\
"An assured reward for the faithful one", the motto on the title page of Robert Wringhim's titular memoirs.

It sounds like it ought to be an AwfulBritishSexComedy, but in fact James Hogg's Scottish novel dates from 1824 and is thankfully lacking in pinging bras, creaking bedsprings and window cleaners. Instead, this is the tale of Robert Wringhim, the younger son of the Laird of Dalcastle. His father, who he has been raised by his pious mother to despise as an unrepentant sinner, has no time for him. Lord Dalcastle suspects that he is the illegitimate son of his estranged wife and her religious adviser (whose name he shares and who is effectively his stepfather). Robert won't be inheriting anything on his father's death - that's all going to his elder and more popular brother, George Colwan - and he regards himself as an outcast, although his stepfather has assured him that he is predestined to be one of God's elect. Then one day, as Robert walks through the fields alone, he encounters a mysterious and apparently powerful young man called Gil-Martin, who has a few suggestions about how he can sort out all his problems...

The book is Scotland's own version of ''Faust'', and, although Hogg himself was a devout Calvinist, it's a cautionary tale of just how wrong you can go when fired up with the idea that God has guaranteed your salvation in advance. Hogg, who lived from 1770 to 1835, was a former shepherd from Ettrick in the Scottish borders (which unsurprisingly got him the nickname, "The Ettrick Shepherd"). He became well-known from 1813 on for writing poetry on Scottish themes in a similar vein to some of that of his friend Sir Creator/WalterScott. He also wrote other novels and short stories, but this tends to be the one that is remembered. For a nineteenth century horror novel, it's unusually subtle. We're not left entirely sure of who Gil-Martin was or even how real he was.
----
!! Tropes include

* AmoralAttorney - Lawyer Linkum is quite prepared to forge an old deed to enable Robert to gain control over the land of the mother of a girl he wants to seduce, and hence over the girl herself.
* ApocalypticLog - The last few pages of Robert's own narrative, which are presented as diary entries, are this.
* AristocratsAreEvil - None of the upper-class characters come out of this looking too good. Lord Dalcastle is a boozy debauchee, Lady Dalcastle is fanatically religious (although she gets some CharacterDevelopment), Robert is a villainous hypocrite when he's not holding the IdiotBall and even his brother George is portrayed as a hot-head who's rather too fond of the ladies himself. This may well be connected to Hogg's early, impoverished days as a shepherd and tenant farmer.
* ArrangedMarriage - The source of all the problems in the novel is Lady Dalcastle's to Lord Dalcastle. Her father is a wealthy merchant and it's strictly for MoneyDearBoy.
* TheCavalierYears - The action of the novel, which starts in 1687, takes place towards the fag-end of this period.
* DealWithTheDevil - The whole point of the book, and it's all the more remarkable that until very near the end Robert (unlike Faust) has no idea what he's done.
* EvilTwin - Robert comes to believe that he has one towards the end of the book, as he has no recollection of some of the evil deeds of which he is accused. As discussed elsewhere, it's never quite clear if this is true [[spoiler: and attributable to Gil-Martin's demonic powers]] or if Robert's mentally unstable and amnesiac.
* TheFundamentalist - Both Wringhims are this. Gil-Martin claims to share their ideas but puts what you might call a unique twist on them...
* GoodShepherd - Mr Blanchard, the elderly minister [[spoiler: who is Robert and Gil-Martin's first victim]] is presented as this.
* GoodBadGirl - Miss Logan, Lord Dalcastle's housekeeper and mistress, who plays a major part in Robert's eventual downfall.
* HidingBehindReligion - Both Robert and his stepfather are repeatedly accused of this by other characters, to the extent that one even says that this shared trait is proof that the elder Wringhim is his biological father. It's open to debate to what extent either of them are conscious hypocrites, however, as opposed to morally blinded by their extreme views on predestination.
* HotForPreacher - Lord Dalcastle's take on Wringhim Senior's relationship with his wife. They certainly seem unusually close for a minister and his pupil.
* IdiotBall - Held by Robert for most of the time. In spite of an intensely religious education, when he meets a mysterious dude with amazing powers who encourages him to do naughty things, it never occurs to him to think, "Hey, maybe I'm dealing with the [[spoiler: Prince of Darkness]] here." Of course, the plot would collapse if he did, which is the reason this trope exists. Hogg is also able to milk this blindness for rather dark comedy. Gil-Martin is given to making ambiguous statements which Robert invariably puts an innocent interpretation on where the reader can see the moustache-twirling villany. Asked if all his subjects are Christians, he says "All my European subjects are, or deem themselves so...and they are the most faithful and true subjects I have." Robert takes this as evidence that Gil-Martin is...
* KingIncognito - Robert thinks Gil-Martin is Peter the Great of Russia, who actually did visit Western Europe incognito for several years towards the end of the seventeenth century.
* LouisCypher - [[spoiler: Gil-Martin. Or is he?]]
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane - Most of the novel is written in two sections, the first written by "the Editor" who has found Robert's papers [[spoiler: on his long-buried body]] and who recounts the traditions surrounding him and his family and the second Robert's own version of events. Because the traditions derive from third party accounts and Robert is an UnreliableNarrator, it's never entirely clear how far this is supposed to be genuinely the work of the Devil and how far Robert is simply a delusional religious maniac.
* PretentiousLatinMotto - See the page quote. It's also scarily ambiguous, and that's quite deliberate.
* ServileSnarker - Wringham Senior's servant, John Barnett, is openly unimpressed with both of the Wringhims. Unlike many of this kind of character, he doesn't get away with it in the end. Later on, Robert's own valet, Sam Scrape, is also pretty outspoken.
* SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny - This fits Robert's attitude to sex to a tee. Accused (correctly) of seducing a woman, he responds, "But the mention of such a thing as ''amours'' with any woman existing, to me, is really so absurd, so far from my principles, so far from the purity of nature and frame to which I was born and consecrated, that I hold it as an insult, and regard it with contempt."
* EgocentricallyReligious - Arguably, Robert, who pretty much considers his status as one of the elect means God will let him get away with anything.
* UnreliableNarrator: The narrative from Robert's viewpoint is clearly twisted to show him in a better light, especially regarding the circumstances of [[spoiler:his brother's death]]. However, Hogg goes one step beyond and also makes the "editor's" narrative unreliable as well, since it reflects a strictly rationalist viewpoint that cannot accept the existence of any supernatural elements.

----
[[redirect:Literature/ThePrivateMemoirsAndConfessionsOfAJustifiedSinner]]
24th Jan '13 12:56:21 PM DynamicDragon
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* UnreliableNarrator: The narrative from Robert's viewpoint is clearly twisted to show him in a better light, especially regarding the circumstances of [[spoiler:his brother's death]]. However, Hogg goes one step beyond and also makes the "editor's" narrative unreliable as well, since it reflects a strictly rationalist viewpoint that cannot accept the existence of any supernatural elements.

to:

* UnreliableNarrator: The narrative from Robert's viewpoint is clearly twisted to show him in a better light, especially regarding the circumstances of [[spoiler:his brother's death]]. However, Hogg goes one step beyond and also makes the "editor's" narrative unreliable as well, since it reflects a strictly rationalist viewpoint that cannot accept the existence of any supernatural elements.elements.

----
16th Jun '12 4:39:43 PM FELH2
Is there an issue? Send a Message


It sounds like it ought to be an {{Awful British Sex Comedy}}, but in fact James Hogg's Scottish novel dates from 1824 and is thankfully lacking in pinging bras, creaking bedsprings and window cleaners. Instead, this is the tale of Robert Wringhim, the younger son of the Laird of Dalcastle. His father, who he has been raised by his pious mother to despise as an unrepentant sinner, has no time for him. Lord Dalcastle suspects that he is the illegitimate son of his estranged wife and her religious adviser (whose name he shares and who is effectively his stepfather). Robert won't be inheriting anything on his father's death - that's all going to his elder and more popular brother, George Colwan - and he regards himself as an outcast, although his stepfather has assured him that he is predestined to be one of God's elect. Then one day, as Robert walks through the fields alone, he encounters a mysterious and apparently powerful young man called Gil-Martin, who has a few suggestions about how he can sort out all his problems...

The book is Scotland's own version of ''Faust'', and, although Hogg himself was a devout Calvinist, it's a cautionary tale of just how wrong you can go when fired up with the idea that God has guaranteed your salvation in advance. Hogg, who lived from 1770 to 1835, was a former shepherd from Ettrick in the Scottish borders (which unsurprisingly got him the nickname, "The Ettrick Shepherd"). He became well-known from 1813 on for writing poetry on Scottish themes in a similar vein to some of that of his friend Sir WalterScott. He also wrote other novels and short stories, but this tends to be the one that is remembered. For a nineteenth century horror novel, it's unusually subtle. We're not left entirely sure of who Gil-Martin was or even how real he was.

to:

It sounds like it ought to be an {{Awful British Sex Comedy}}, AwfulBritishSexComedy, but in fact James Hogg's Scottish novel dates from 1824 and is thankfully lacking in pinging bras, creaking bedsprings and window cleaners. Instead, this is the tale of Robert Wringhim, the younger son of the Laird of Dalcastle. His father, who he has been raised by his pious mother to despise as an unrepentant sinner, has no time for him. Lord Dalcastle suspects that he is the illegitimate son of his estranged wife and her religious adviser (whose name he shares and who is effectively his stepfather). Robert won't be inheriting anything on his father's death - that's all going to his elder and more popular brother, George Colwan - and he regards himself as an outcast, although his stepfather has assured him that he is predestined to be one of God's elect. Then one day, as Robert walks through the fields alone, he encounters a mysterious and apparently powerful young man called Gil-Martin, who has a few suggestions about how he can sort out all his problems...

The book is Scotland's own version of ''Faust'', and, although Hogg himself was a devout Calvinist, it's a cautionary tale of just how wrong you can go when fired up with the idea that God has guaranteed your salvation in advance. Hogg, who lived from 1770 to 1835, was a former shepherd from Ettrick in the Scottish borders (which unsurprisingly got him the nickname, "The Ettrick Shepherd"). He became well-known from 1813 on for writing poetry on Scottish themes in a similar vein to some of that of his friend Sir WalterScott.Creator/WalterScott. He also wrote other novels and short stories, but this tends to be the one that is remembered. For a nineteenth century horror novel, it's unusually subtle. We're not left entirely sure of who Gil-Martin was or even how real he was.



* EvilTwin - Robert comes to believe that he has one towards the end of the book, as he has no recollection of some of the evil deeds of which he is accused. As discussed elsewhere, it's never quite clear if this is true [[spoiler: and attributable to Gil-Martin's demonic powers]] or if Robert's mentally unstable and amnesiac.
* TheFundamentalist - Both Wringhims are this. Gil-Martin claims to share their ideas but puts what you might call a unique twist on them...

to:

* EvilTwin - Robert comes to believe that he has one towards the end of the book, as he has no recollection of some of the evil deeds of which he is accused. As discussed elsewhere, it's never quite clear if this is true [[spoiler: and attributable to Gil-Martin's demonic powers]] or if Robert's mentally unstable and amnesiac.
amnesiac.
* TheFundamentalist - Both Wringhims are this. Gil-Martin claims to share their ideas but puts what you might call a unique twist on them...



* IdiotBall - Held by Robert for most of the time. In spite of an intensely religious education, when he meets a mysterious dude with amazing powers who encourages him to do naughty things, it never occurs to him to think, "Hey, maybe I'm dealing with the [[spoiler: Prince of Darkness]] here." Of course, the plot would collapse if he did, which is the reason this trope exists. Hogg is also able to milk this blindness for rather dark comedy. Gil-Martin is given to making ambiguous statements which Robert invariably puts an innocent interpretation on where the reader can see the moustache-twirling villany. Asked if all his subjects are Christians, he says "All my European subjects are, or deem themselves so...and they are the most faithful and true subjects I have." Robert takes this as evidence that Gil-Martin is...
* KingIncognito - Robert thinks Gil-Martin is Peter the Great of Russia, who actually did visit Western Europe incognito for several years towards the end of the seventeenth century.

to:

* IdiotBall - Held by Robert for most of the time. In spite of an intensely religious education, when he meets a mysterious dude with amazing powers who encourages him to do naughty things, it never occurs to him to think, "Hey, maybe I'm dealing with the [[spoiler: Prince of Darkness]] here." Of course, the plot would collapse if he did, which is the reason this trope exists. Hogg is also able to milk this blindness for rather dark comedy. Gil-Martin is given to making ambiguous statements which Robert invariably puts an innocent interpretation on where the reader can see the moustache-twirling villany. Asked if all his subjects are Christians, he says "All my European subjects are, or deem themselves so...and they are the most faithful and true subjects I have." Robert takes this as evidence that Gil-Martin is...
is...
* KingIncognito - Robert thinks Gil-Martin is Peter the Great of Russia, who actually did visit Western Europe incognito for several years towards the end of the seventeenth century.
11th Jan '12 8:58:50 AM BornIn1142
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* Unreliablenarrator: The narrative from Robert's viewpoint is clearly twisted to show him in a better light, especially regarding the circumstances of [[spoiler:his brother's death]]. However, Hogg goes one step beyond and also makes the "editor's" narrative unreliable as well, since it reflects a strictly rationalist viewpoint that cannot accept the existence of any supernatural elements.

to:

* Unreliablenarrator: UnreliableNarrator: The narrative from Robert's viewpoint is clearly twisted to show him in a better light, especially regarding the circumstances of [[spoiler:his brother's death]]. However, Hogg goes one step beyond and also makes the "editor's" narrative unreliable as well, since it reflects a strictly rationalist viewpoint that cannot accept the existence of any supernatural elements.
11th Jan '12 8:58:30 AM BornIn1142
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* EgocentricallyReligious - Arguably, Robert, who pretty much considers his status as one of the elect means God will let him get away with anything.

to:

* EgocentricallyReligious - Arguably, Robert, who pretty much considers his status as one of the elect means God will let him get away with anything.anything.
* Unreliablenarrator: The narrative from Robert's viewpoint is clearly twisted to show him in a better light, especially regarding the circumstances of [[spoiler:his brother's death]]. However, Hogg goes one step beyond and also makes the "editor's" narrative unreliable as well, since it reflects a strictly rationalist viewpoint that cannot accept the existence of any supernatural elements.
6th Dec '11 11:44:58 PM Xzenu
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* SpoiledBratOfTheLord - Arguably, Robert, who pretty much considers his status as one of the elect means God will let him get away with anything.

to:

* SpoiledBratOfTheLord EgocentricallyReligious - Arguably, Robert, who pretty much considers his status as one of the elect means God will let him get away with anything.
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