"there being a curse pronounced by the writer on him that should dare to alter or amend"

In fact, this curse was not entirely heeded. The novel as Hogg originally conceived it was not available after its publication until the 20th century. Instead there were several bowdlerised versions which pandered to contemporary ideals of ‘delicacy’. The most notable is 1837’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Fanatic. This version omits several key episodes, such as John Barnet’s questioning of Robert’s paternity and the tale of Auchtermuchty. It also censors much of the harsher theological criticism, waters down the cursing and anglicises Hogg’s Scots usages. Interestingly, the reference to the curse upon anyone who dares meddle with the text is also excised. It is not clear whether these changes were put in place by Hogg prior to his death in 1835 or whether they were made by another hand. Whether or not the curse was realised also remains a mystery.