Correspondence to an unnamed recipient, presumably Alexander Blackwood 
Letter from James Hogg, 1770-1835, poet and novelist
- This material is held at
- ReferenceGB 559 MS 94
- Dates of Creation1832
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish
- Physical Description0.001 metres
- Direct Link
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
James Hogg (1770-1835 ), poet and novelist, was born at Ettrickhall Farm, Ettrick Forest, Selkirkshire. His father was an unsuccessful tenant farmer. He had little formal education but was a great story-teller and learned many ballads from his mother, who came from the Laidlaw family. In 1790 he was employed as shepherd by William Laidlaw of Blackhouse in Selkirkshire, who encouraged him to write. In 1801, visiting the sheep market in Edinburgh, Hogg took the opportunity to have his Pastorals, Poems, Songs etc printed but it was given a poor reception. In 1803 Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832 ) published several of Hogg's mother's ballads in Border Minstrelsy, volume 2. In 1807 Hogg published The Mountain Bard and invested his earnings from it in an unsuccessful attempt at farming. He was subsequently unable to get work as a shepherd and in 1810 was forced to move to Edinburgh. The Forest Minstrel (1810 ) again met with little success but was followed in 1813 by The Queen's Wake which was better received. In 1815 the Duke of Buccleuch granted him the farm of Altrive (Edinhope) rent free (later left to him by the Duchess), and in 1820, despite continuing financial problems, he felt secure enough to be able to marry Margaret Phillips.
James Hogg became an established figure in Edinburgh Society and as well as producing poetry and prose he was a regular contributor to Blackwood's Magazine with his series of tales The Shepherd's Calendar. He also featured as the Ettrick Shepherd in Noctes Ambrosianae by John Wilson (1785-1854 ). Writing on the supernatural, as with his Kilmeny and The Witch of Fife, Hogg described himself as the 'King of the Mountain and Fairy School'. Other examples of his work which demonstrate the influence of Burns and the traditional Scottish ballads are The Author's Address to his Auld Dog Hector and the Village of Balmaquhapple. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824 ) is considered to be his best work and explores the theme of split personality which was later tackled by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894 ) in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Against the wishes of the Scott family, in 1834 Hogg published Domestic Manners and Private Life of Sir Walter Scott.
The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received
Conditions Governing Access
Purchased in 2003 from M. Silverman, London, with funds from Stirling Minds
Other Finding Aids
Further details about the collection are held on Stirling University Library web-based catalogue.
Alternative Form Available
No known copies
Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements
None which affect the use of this material
Conditions Governing Use
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Manager, Library Liaison and Training.
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.
This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0559 procedures
Location of Originals
This material is original
No known publications using this material
Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names
Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.
Fonds level description compiled by H M Kemp and Alan Borthwick, Scottish Archive Network project, 10 May 2002.