James Hogg (1770-1835) was born in the Ettrick Forest near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders. He left school for farm work at the age of seven and became a shepherd in his teens. Steeped in the oral tradition and encouraged by his employers, he determined to be a poet like Burns, and in 1810 he went to Edinburgh to seek a literary career. Success finally came with The Queen's Wake (1813). Hogg's first three novels drew on the folk tradition, yet had elements that were never fully understood or appreciated by his audience in Edinburgh, and Confessions made little impact when it first appeared. He continued, however, to publish poetry, and even more prolifically, prose.