In The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824), James Hogg uses the uncanny trope of the bier-right, a medieval superstitious belief of Christian origin that a murdered corpse will bleed in the presence or at the touch of the actual murderer, to negotiate his struggle with fading belief in local superstitions and religious faith in the Scottish Borders. Examining the origins of the bier-right, court cases involving the bier-right, and Hogg's minor works using the bier-right I offer a comparison of how Hogg manipulates and morphs this trope in Confessions. I also argue that the main character, the sinner Robert Wringhim, becomes a living-dead embodiment of the bier-right corpse.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Terry, Tanya Ann, "Murder Will Out: James Hogg's Use of the Bier-Right in His Minor Works and Confessions" (2010). Theses and Dissertations. 2449.
James Hogg, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, bier-right, corpse, supernatural, superstition