James Hogg

A Bard of Nature’s Making

by Valentina Bold (Author)
©2007 Monographs 380 Pages


This book sheds new light on James Hogg, the Scottish poet (1770-1835), going beyond the ‘Ettrick Shepherd’ stereotype. By focussing on Hogg’s poetry (Scottish Pastorals, The Queen’s Wake, Jacobite Relics, Queen Hynde, Pilgrims of the Sun) it shows that his work, and the critical response to it, was significantly shaped by the concept of the autodidact: a working-class writer who was considered to be a poet of ‘Nature’s Making’.
The image of the autodidact is pursued from its beginnings – Ramsay’s Gentle Shepherd, Macpherson’s Ossian, Burns as ‘ploughman poet’ – through its development in the nineteenth century, to its last gasps in the twentieth. Poets considered include Isobel Pagan, Janet Little, William Tennant, Allan Cunningham, Robert Tannahill, Janet Hamilton, Ellen Johnston, Elizabeth Hartley, Alexander Anderson, David Gray, David Wingate and James Young Geddes. Despite facing difficulties, autodidacts produced some of the most innovative and exciting poetry of the nineteenth century.
The author argues that the autodidactic tradition, exemplified by Hogg, nurtured the creative vigour manifested in twentieth-century Scottish poetry. While Scotland’s autodidacts shared poetic concerns and techniques, they were characterised, above all, by diversity of poetic voice.


ISBN (Softcover)
Lyrik Selbsterziehung Scottish poetry Autodidact Diversity Critical respons Hogg, James Working-class
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 380 pp., 8 ill.

Biographical notes

Valentina Bold (Author)

The Author: Valentina Bold was educated at the University of Edinburgh, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Glasgow and has worked at the Universities of Glasgow, Stirling and Aberdeen. She is currently head of Scottish Studies at the University of Glasgow’s Crichton Campus, in Dumfries. Dr Bold has published widely on Scottish literature and culture.


Title: James Hogg