As Angela Wright has noted, in Scottish Gothic literature, graves and manuscripts are ‘warmly contested sites of authenticity and authority’ (2007: 76). The burial ground excavated at the end of James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) is just such a contested memorial: the grave that harbours an uncanny tale of religious fundamentalism, or diabolical possession, does not readily give up its secrets. Robert Wringhim’s corpse preserves a manuscript whose provenance, and legacy, cannot be determined. The exhumed body releases its enigmatic text into circulation, and this final resting place becomes an opening to future readings. In his antiquarian or archaeological – and thus typically Gothic – effort to authenticate Wringhim’s memoir, the Editor’s narrative draws on ‘history, justiciary records, and tradition’ (Hogg 2002c: 64) to frame the ‘singular’ document whose ‘drift’ (2002c: 174) he cannot comprehend. Yet the ‘sequel’ to these narratives (it is actually a beginning) returns us to Hogg’s home territory of the Borders.
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