James Hogg in the World
8 May – 22 July 2017, Pathfoot Building, University of Stirling
Summer 2017 saw a major exhibition on Hogg’s life and work at the University of Stirling. Entitled James Hogg in the World, the exhibition explored the worldwide reach of Hogg’s writing and reputation throughout his lifetime and beyond.
The exhibition marked the culmination of a three-year AHRC-funded project charting the circulation of Hogg’s work in 19th-century periodicals and newspapers around the English-speaking world. Drawing directly on this new research, the exhibition gathered together key texts and artefacts from Canada, the USA, the Caribbean, India, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It explored the remarkable capacity of Hogg’s writing to speak to audiences across time and place, from diasporic Scots in the colonies of Grenada and Bermuda, to campaigners for the abolition of slavery in the United States, to officers of the East India Company in Calcutta and Bengal. Closer to our own time, Hogg’s legacy was reflected in a section of the exhibition dedicated to his collateral descendant, and Nobel laureate, Alice Munro, whose enigmatic short stories revel in themes and ideas that were central to Hogg’s work.
As well as poetry and fiction, song was a major preoccupation of Hogg’s, and many musical settlings enjoyed wide distribution overseas. For the exhibition, new recordings of some of Hogg’s most widely-travelled songs were produced featuring Kirsteen McCue, accompanied on piano by David Hamilton (recording engineered and produced by Micah Gilbert.
“The Skylark”/”Bird of the Wilderness”
“The Skylark”, also known as “Bird of the Wilderness”, was Hogg’s most widely reprinted song, appearing in newspapers and magazines in the US, the Caribbean, New Zealand and elsewhere. The musical setting is by W.R. Dempster, a composer of popular American song-sheets.
“I Hae Naebody Now”
Like “Bird of the Wilderness”, this song has enjoyed a remarkably wide circulation abroad. It was first published in Fraser’s Magazine in 1831. The setting is by the English composer Edward J. Nielson.
“Hail, Hail to the Son of Our Father”
This song, which first appeared in Hogg’s The Royal Jubilee, was reprinted as far away as Bermuda. The musical setting here uses the air “Over the Border”.
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