Altrive Tales

James Hogg
Edited by Gillian Hughes


Altrive Tales was carefully prepared by Hogg in 1832 as the opening volume in a planned twelve-volume collected prose fiction series, intended as the culmination of his career as a storyteller. It opens with his own story of how a ragged servant-lad remade himself as a respected professional writer, the associate of Byron, Scott, Southey, Wordsworth and Galt. Hogg's frank and humorous 'Memoir of the Author's Life' is widely recognised as a classic of Romantic autobiography and an important record of early nineteenth-century Scottish culture. Hogg's sharp eye for the latest publishing phenomena and pawky self-mocking humour is evident in his awareness of Altrive Tales as a contribution to the monthly-volume classic fiction series of the early 1830s following Sir Walter Scott's magnum opus edition of the Waverley Novels. Frankly pleading guilty to the egotism of presenting his own output to the world as a literary classic Hogg engagingly confesses, 'I like to write about myself: in fact, there are few things which I like better [...]'.

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About the Author

James Hogg was a Scottish poet, novelist and essayist who wrote in both Scots and English. He is best known for his novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

Gillian Hughes is Advisory Editor to The New Edinburgh Edition of the Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. She was editor and/or general editor for many volumes in the Stirling/South Carolina Hogg edition, founding editor of the journal Studies in Hogg and his World, and is the author of James Hogg: A Life (Edinburgh University Press, 2007). Her current projects include an edition (co-edited with Peter Garside) of the Shorter Verse of Walter Scott.


This is a fascinating volume, full of surprises, challenges and confirmations … Gillian Hughes' editorial activities are exemplary: the textual decisions and apparatus inspire confidence and assent, and the genesis of the Tales is pieced together in an introduction which is a serious piece of scholarly detecitve work in its own right…she offers finely-observed, stimulating exegiesis which will encourage further readings, and the explanatory notes offer some wonderfully suggestive analogies. Alltogether, the volume is a revelation. There is a very strong case for its reissue in a paperback accessible to students.

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