The Private Memoirs, first published in 1824, is an early psychological novel, in which the phenomena of the split personality and the obsessed character are described with extraordinary insight. Set in the gloomy world of 18th-century Scottish Calvinism, the novel is a story of moral fanaticism, of a mind darkened by and overpowering conviction of its own righteousness. The story concerns two brothers: one murders the other and is in turn destroyed - or destroys himself. It is a book, Andre Gide wrote, "fitted to arouse passionate interest both in those who are attracted by religious and moral questions, and for quite other reasons, in psychologists and artists, and above all in surrealists who are so particularly drawn by the demoniac in every shape."
The book contains vivid pictures of the manners and morals of a chiaroscuro society remarkably similar in some ways to Dostoevsky's, but seen from the outside by a man whose rebellious, independent disposition enabled him to survive in defiance of his own Establishment. It draws on some of the traditions and techniques of the "Gothic" school, but more importantly, it is an early exercise in narrative technique - in its deliberate manipulation of point-of-view - and in psychological realism.
The text of this edition has been carefully collated with the first edition. It contains an introduction by Robert M. Adams, an afterword by Gide, and a glossary of Scottish words and phrases prepared by Mr. Adams.
Series: The Norton Library, N515
Number Of Pages: 260
Published: 17th January 1970
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.32 x 12.7
Weight (kg): 0.29