Contributions to Annuals and Gift Books
The Annuals of the 1820s and 1830s, like their modern counterparts, were designed as Christmas and New Year's presents. The latest developments in printing and book design were employed in the preparation of these attractive pocket-sized compilations of poetry, prose and engravings for drawing-room display. Well-known authors such as James Hogg, Walter Scott, L.E.L., and John Clare were eagerly recruited and handsomely paid as contributors, their work appearing alongside that of young hopefuls such as Alfred Tennyson. In drawing together Hogg's work for the Annuals and in providing the appropriate context the editors shed new light on Hogg's working practices and his relations with editors and artists, uniting material hitherto scattered in rare volumes and in manuscripts and making a solid contribution to knowledge of the Annual publishing phenomenon itself.Several new versions of Hogg's tales and poems are included in Contributions to Literary Annuals, which also reproduces the music and illustrations that accompanied them. The range of Hogg's contributions is surprising -- family poems ("An Aged Widow's Lament"), an outpouring of patriotic feeling ("The Harp of Ossian"), traditional stories of devils and ghosts ("The Border Chronicler"), an exemplification of divine justice ("The Cameronian Preacher's Tale"), and an account of group psychology ("A Psychological Curiosity"). The volume also includes a group of pieces contributed to Annuals designed primarily for children, and these are supplemented by a reprinting of the gift-book he dedicated to his own family, A Father's New Year's Gift. Contributions to Literary Annuals highlights a coherent part of Hogg's total literary output, and in doing so provides new insights to an increasingly popular area of nineteenth-century publishing history.