'I like to write about myself: in fact, there are few things I like better!' So confesses Hogg with pawky self-mocking humour in Altrive Tales. The collection opens with Hogg's 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. The themes of the 'Memoir' continue in the tales that follow. 'The Adventures of Captain John Lochy' is a fast-paced historical fiction, the autobiography of a social outcast adrift in Scotland, Russia, the Netherlands, and Sweden. 'The Pongos' (an early version of the Tarzan story) takes a look at Scottish involvement in the British empire in a comic parody of Enlightenment notions about the nature of man and of society. 'Marion's Jock' is a virtuoso exercise in Scots and in Hogg's ability to communicate the peasant lifestyle of his native Scottish Borders.
This new edition, thoughtfully introduced, extensively annotated and featuring a reading list and Hogg chronology, presents Altrive Tales as a major achievement by one of Scotland's finest storytellers. 3 b&w illustrations