In this collection of short stories Hogg focuses on the Scottish civil war of 1644-45, in which the Marquis of Montrose led his royalist forces in a series of stunning victories against the odds before his final defeat at Philiphaugh. Each of Hogg’s five tales centres on one of the five major battles of Montrose’s brilliant but ultimately futile campaign. Each tale is utterly different from the others in genre and tone, but taken together they build up a composite picture of what it was like to experience the ‘anarchy and confusion’ of the time at first hand. The importance of Tales of the Wars of Montrose was long obscured by the fact that the publisher of the first edition seriously mangled Hogg’s text, not least by including an unrelated sixth tale in order to bulk out the collection to the commercially-expected norm of three volumes. Gillian Hughes has restored Hogg’s coherent five-tale collection, and by returning to Hogg’s manuscripts in preparing her edition she has made possible the first appearance in print of an uncensored text of this lively and innovative collection.
About the Author
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.
These attractive editions of Hogg's work are set directly from the original texts, and in the case of the Perils of Woman and The Shepherd's Calendar, actually represent the first ever republications of the originals... these paperback reprints further aid the dissemination of Hogg’s best works, creating affordable and accessible editions. Texts previously available only to those with the golden keys of academia can now be bought and enjoyed by a wider readership.
Tales of the Wars of Montrose is a big book about a big historical period, and it positions Hogg strongly in the line of historical writers who require to be taken seriously.
The superb apparatus included with this series ensures James Hogg's works are accessible to readers of any level. Tales of the Wars of Montrose is no exception. Gillian Hughes provides meticulous annotation, a comprehensive publication history, an introductory bibliography, an extensive glossary, and a historical note that provides essential background information on seventeenth-century Scotland, the locus of the tales. The supporting material is complemented by a multifaceted introduction which opens a number of opportunities for further research.
Tales of the Wars of Montrose, too, though held together by internal connections and the common historical context, displays a similar delight in literary form, beginning with the conscious imitation of Defoe, ‘Some Remarkable Passages in the Life of an Edinburgh Baillie Written by himself’. The dates and details of the opening narrative (admirably glossed by Gillian Hughes) enable Hogg to follow Defoe in exploring the relationship between literature and history, truth and fiction, while also creating a foundation for the subsequent tales of romantic intrigue, Ossianic tragedy, adventure and vendetta all over Scotland. It is hard to imagine a tale less like the Edinburgh Baillie’s memoirs than that of ‘Sir Simon Brodie’, whose quixotic adventures include being thrown overboard in the Firth of Forth by the Duke of Argyll and rescued from his predicament by an amorous seal