Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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Father Abbot, or, The Home Tourist; a Medley

Father Abbot, or, The Home Tourist; a Medley

Journalism | 1849
           Father Abbot collects together a series of related political fictions Simms wrote for the Charleston Mercury from September to November 1849.[1]  Here, the author revealed his significant wit and complex thinking about social, political, and philosophical issues through the perambulations of the titular Father Abbot about Charleston and its environs.  As Father Abbot travels around the city with various companions, its economic and political future are discussed; this conceit allowed Simms to use his satirical gifts to create a humorous, yet biting, commentary on the socioeconomic ...
Flirtation at the Moultrie House

Flirtation at the Moultrie House

Novella | 1850
         One of Simms’s minor works, the epistolary novella, Flirtation at the Moultrie House, presents an interesting picture of society life in mid-century Charleston.  Mary Ann Wimsatt notes that Flirtation, published as a pamphlet in 1850 by Edward C. Councell of Charleston, shows Simms’s “growing talent for brisk descriptions of city life,” while Simms biographer John C. Guilds notes the satiric success of the work:  “Not only is Flirtation of interest because it represents a type of fiction almost wholly different from that characteristically associated with the prolific ...
Grouped Thoughts and Scattered Fancies: A Collection of Sonnets

Grouped Thoughts and Scattered Fancies: A Collection of Sonnets

Poetry | 1845
            Grouped Thoughts and Scattered Fancies, a collection of sonnets written by William Gilmore Simms, features poems published in the Southern Literary Messenger throughout 1844 and 1845.  This volume was also printed by the Messenger’s printer, W. Macfarlane, in 1845.[1]  Simms is not specifically named as the author on the title page; however, he is identified as the author by the listing of two of his other notable works, Atalantis and Southern Passages and Pictures. Simms personally selected the works for Grouped Thoughts and Scattered Fancies “from his private repertoire ...
Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1834
          Guy Rivers was published by Harper & Brothers in July 1834 as the first of Simms’s many fictional frontier writings known as the Border Romance series. According to the author, these works were “meant to illustrate the border & domestic history of the South.”[1]  Writing to James Lawson in December 1833, Simms described the novel as “a tale of Georgia—a tale of the miners—of a frontier and wild people, and the events are precisely such as may occur among a people & in a region of that character.”[2]  Mary Ann Wimsatt notes that Guy Rivers established ...
Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1855
          Guy Rivers was published by Harper & Brothers in July 1834 as the first of Simms’s many fictional frontier writings known as the Border Romance series. According to the author, these works were “meant to illustrate the border & domestic history of the South.”[1]  Writing to James Lawson in December 1833, Simms described the novel as “a tale of Georgia—a tale of the miners—of a frontier and wild people, and the events are precisely such as may occur among a people & in a region of that character.”[2]  Mary Ann Wimsatt notes that Guy Rivers established ...
Helen Halsey, or The Swamp State of Conelachita: A Tale of the Borders

Helen Halsey, or The Swamp State of Conelachita: A Tale of the Borders

Novella | Burgess, Stringer & Co. | 1845
                While one of the lesser-known of Simms’s border romances, the novella Helen Halsey is nevertheless a strong work, indicative of the overall project the author undertook in that series.  The first mention of Helen Halsey in the Letters was in June 1843.  By September, Simms told James Lawson that the work was “nearly ready.”  Helen Halsey was “to follow up” Simms’s ghost story Castle Dismal, a work he announces in the same letter to be sending to “the Harpers.”[1]  Letters to Lawson from this time period indicate that the author was interested in shopping ...
Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College

Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College

Speech | Spartanburg Female College Board of Trustees | 1855
            William Gilmore Simms spoke at the opening of the Spartanburg Female College at approximately 1pm[1] on August 22, 1855 to an audience comprised largely of the Board of Trustees and other persons involved in the founding of that institution[2].  His remarks were published several weeks later in a pamphlet entitled Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College.  His talk focused on the two related topics of the value of education in general and the importance of female education specifically.  On the former, Simms compared the mind of man to a wilderness terrain awaiting ...
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution

Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution

Novel (Romance) | The Reprint Company | 1975, 1976
          Although written and published last among his eight Revolutionary novels in 1867, Joscelyn should be placed first in the series chronologically, for it lays out the preliminaries and “origins of this partisan conflict.”[1]  Set in the final six months of 1775, the romance depicts the beginnings of the Revolutionary conflict between patriots and loyalists in the backcountries of Georgia and South Carolina. Simms mixed historical figures, such as William Henry Drayton and Thomas Browne, with fictional ones to illustrate the dramatic tensions and implications of the early partisan ...
Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution

Joscelyn: A Tale of the Revolution

Novel (Romance) | U of South Carolina P | 1975
          Although written and published last among his eight Revolutionary novels in 1867, Joscelyn should be placed first in the series chronologically, for it lays out the preliminaries and “origins of this partisan conflict.”[1]  Set in the final six months of 1775, the romance depicts the beginnings of the Revolutionary conflict between patriots and loyalists in the backcountries of Georgia and South Carolina. Simms mixed historical figures, such as William Henry Drayton and Thomas Browne, with fictional ones to illustrate the dramatic tensions and implications of the early partisan ...
Katharine Walton; or, The Rebel of Dorchester

Katharine Walton; or, The Rebel of Dorchester

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
          Set in September of 1780, Katharine Walton is the third installment of a trilogy that follows The Partisan and Mellichampein covering the Revolution in South Carolina.[1]  While The Partisan and Mellichampe are set in the interior of the Santee and Wateree rivers, Katharine Walton  takes the reader to the city of Charleston in 1780-81 to trace the social world of South Carolina under British occupation.[2]  The city functions narratively as a “unifying center,” according to John C. Guilds, to free Katharine Walton of the “awkward shifts in action and setting ...
Katharine Walton; or, The Rebel of Dorchester. An Historical Romance of the Revolution in Carolina.

Katharine Walton; or, The Rebel of Dorchester. An Historical Romance of the Revolution in Carolina.

Novel (Romance) | A. Hart | 1851
          Set in September of 1780, Katharine Walton is the third installment of a trilogy that follows The Partisan and Mellichampein covering the Revolution in South Carolina.[1]  While The Partisan and Mellichampe are set in the interior of the Santee and Wateree rivers, Katharine Walton  takes the reader to the city of Charleston in 1780-81 to trace the social world of South Carolina under British occupation.[2]  The city functions narratively as a “unifying center,” according to John C. Guilds, to free Katharine Walton of the “awkward shifts in action and setting ...
Lays of the Palmetto: A Tribute to the South Carolina Regiment, in the War with Mexico.

Lays of the Palmetto: A Tribute to the South Carolina Regiment, in the War with Mexico.

Poetry | John Russell | 1848
            Lays of the Palmetto is a collection of poems that William Gilmore Simms wrote in honor of the South Carolina regiment that participated in the war with Mexico.  Many of the poems were originally published in the Charleston Courier in February and March of 1848.[1] Simms is directly identified as the author of the work on the title page.  In a March 23, 1848 letter to his friend and New York agent, James Lawson, Simms indicated to him that he had “just finished,” the work and was preparing it to go to press.[2]  In late July 1848, Lays of the Palmetto was published by John ...
Lyrical and Other Poems

Lyrical and Other Poems

Poetry | Ellis & Neufville | 1827
            The Charleston firm of Ellis & Neufville issued Lyrical and Other Poems, which was Simms’s first published collection of poetry, in January or early February of 1827.  An early date is most likely, because the copyright notice reprinted at the front of the text indicates that Ellis & Neufville filed the necessary paperwork on December 13, 1826, and a review of the volume appeared in the New York Literary Gazette and American Athenæum on February 3, 1827.  The collection was generally well-received by critics and in later years Simms would recall fondly the praise ...
Marie de Berniere: A Tale of the Crescent City, Etc. Etc. Etc.

Marie de Berniere: A Tale of the Crescent City, Etc. Etc. Etc.

Novella | Lippincott, Grambo, and Co. | 1853
                Marie de Berniere: A Tale of the Crescent City is a collection of stories published in 1853 by Lippincott, Grambo, and Co. of Philadelphia.  In addition to the title story, the collection includes “The Maroon” and “Maize in Milk.”  Each story was published serially prior to the collection and gradually expanded from its serial version into novella form.  In a 20 June 1853 to James Henry Hammond, Simms mentioned “collecting my scattered novellettes & tales.  You have probably seen ‘Marie de Berniere &c.’ This will be followed up by other vols. of similar ...
Martin Faber and Other Tales

Martin Faber and Other Tales

Short Stories | Harper & Brothers | 1837
           One of the most important works in Simms’s development as a writer, Martin Faber has a long and intriguing publication history.  Originally published as a novella by J. & J. Harper of New York in 1833, it was revised and expanded for re-publication, alongside nine other short stories and a poem, as Martin Faber, the Story of a Criminal, and Other Tales, issued by Harper & Brothers in 1837.[1]  Simms biographer John Caldwell Guilds notes the significance of Martin Faber for the author, as its writing and Simms’s hopes for it, seemed to seriously alter his life in his late ...
Martin Faber:  The Story of a Criminal

Martin Faber: The Story of a Criminal

Novella | J. & J. Harper | 1833
           One of the most important works in Simms’s development as a writer, Martin Faber has a long and intriguing publication history.  Originally published as a novella by J. & J. Harper of New York in 1833, it was revised and expanded for re-publication, alongside nine other short stories and a poem, as Martin Faber, the Story of a Criminal, and Other Tales, issued by Harper & Brothers in 1837.[1]  Simms biographer John Caldwell Guilds notes the significance of Martin Faber for the author, as its writing and Simms’s hopes for it, seemed to seriously alter his life in his late ...
Matilda: or, The Spectre of the Castle.  An Imaginative Story.

Matilda: or, The Spectre of the Castle. An Imaginative Story.

Novella | F. Gleason | 1846
           Carl Werner was published in December 1838 by George Adlard of New York.[1]  In the author’s advertisement, Simms classified the collected stories as “moral imaginative” tales, a form of allegory illuminating the “strifes between the rival moral principles of good and evil.”  Such stories, according to John C. Guilds, may often exploit supernatural elements, although it is not necessary.  Simms attributed the origin of the title story to “an ancient monkish legend,” as he set “Carl Werner” in the deepest parts of the German forest where the narrator and his friend ...
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
          The second of eight novels in the Revolutionary War series, William Gilmore Simms’s Mellichampe was originally published by Harper in 1836, then revised and republished in the Redfield edition in 1854.  The story follows the fictional band of Francis Marion’s partisans in the fall of 1780 after the Battle of Camden, as they engage in guerrilla warfare on the Santee River against loyalist and British forces.  In his advertisement to the first edition, Simms considered Mellichampe a “Historical romance” that accurately conveyed the career of Marion[1] to the “very ...
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1836
          The second of eight novels in the Revolutionary War series, William Gilmore Simms’s Mellichampe was originally published by Harper in 1836, then revised and republished in the Redfield edition in 1854.  The story follows the fictional band of Francis Marion’s partisans in the fall of 1780 after the Battle of Camden, as they engage in guerrilla warfare on the Santee River against loyalist and British forces.  In his advertisement to the first edition, Simms considered Mellichampe a “Historical romance” that accurately conveyed the career of Marion[1] to the “very ...
Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas

Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1852
           “I have also a very Texan drama unpublished in my desk,” Simms wrote to state legislator, Armistead Burt, in January 1845, “which will make a rumpus, be sure, if ever it reaches light upon the stage.”[1]  That drama, Michael Bonham, was originally published pseudonymously (by “A Southron”) in the Southern Literary Messenger from February to June 1852.  Richmond publisher, John R. Thompson, released it as a small pamphlet after its serial run in July 1852.[2]  The drama is based on James Butler Bonham, a South Carolina native and lieutenant in the Texas Calvary, who died ...
Monody, on the Death of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Monody, on the Death of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

Poetry | 1825
In 1825, a nineteen-year-old Simms published his first major work, Monody, on the Death of Gen. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and thus took his initial step toward establishing himself as one of the leading literary voices in Charleston.  His work at this time, and especially in this long poem, pointed to intellectual concerns that would follow him throughout his literary career.  Monody was published during one of Simms’s first periods of sustained literary labor, his acting as editor of the Album: A Weekly Miscellany, a magazine first published on 2 July 1825, and then every Saturday for the rest ...
Norman Maurice; or, The Man of the People.  An American Drama in Five Acts.

Norman Maurice; or, The Man of the People. An American Drama in Five Acts.

Drama | John R. Thompson | 1851
                Throughout his long career, Simms was regularly concerned with theatre, though drama would always be the genre with which he had the least commercial and critical success.  Norman Maurice; or,The Man of the the People is perhaps Simms’s best dramatic work, though its failings are typical of his theatrical frustrations.  Norman Maurice was a lofty experiment, mixing contemporary politics with common language presented in the format of the Elizabethan tragedy.  Written in strict blank verse, Norman Maurice is a play in which the Constitutional and slavery questions that ...
Norman Maurice; or, The Man of the People.  An American Drama.

Norman Maurice; or, The Man of the People. An American Drama.

Drama | Walker and Richards | 1852
                Throughout his long career, Simms was regularly concerned with theatre, though drama would always be the genre with which he had the least commercial and critical success.  Norman Maurice; or,The Man of the the People is perhaps Simms’s best dramatic work, though its failings are typical of his theatrical frustrations.  Norman Maurice was a lofty experiment, mixing contemporary politics with common language presented in the format of the Elizabethan tragedy.  Written in strict blank verse, Norman Maurice is a play in which the Constitutional and slavery questions that ...
Pelayo:  A Story of the Goth

Pelayo: A Story of the Goth

Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1838
                By the late 1830s, Simms’s reputation and fame were on a steady rise; on the strength of romances like The Yemassee and The Partisan, Simms was widely regarded as one of antebellum America’s finest writers.  At this point, the always self-conscious novelist made one of the more curious decisions of his literary career by reworking a piece of verse-drama juvenilia into the novel Pelayo:  A Story of the Goth, published in two volumes by Harper & Brothers of New York in 1838.  In writing Pelayo, Simms left the romantic epics of America’s history and frontier on which ...
Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary and Contemplative

Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary and Contemplative

Poetry | Redfield | 1853
            William Gilmore Simms’s ultimate ambition for his collected poetical works titled Poems: Descriptive, Dramatic, Legendary, and Contemplative was limited to posterity.  Unlike most of his literary efforts, it was not a money-making operation.  He wrote his friend B.F. Perry in January 1852, “my hope & expectation are not profit.  I seek only to put myself fully on record for the future.”  Remarkably, Simms went on to explain this bid for future acclaim:  “I regard my career as pretty well over, and wish now to revise and make myself as worthy as possible in the eyes ...
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