Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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A Supplement to the Plays of William Shakspeare

A Supplement to the Plays of William Shakspeare

Drama | Geo. F. Cooledge & Brother | 1848
           Well-known as a poet, cultural critic, and novelist, William Gilmore Simms’s undertaking of an edited volume of Shakespearean apocrypha seems, at first, odd and atypical.  Yet, throughout his long career, Simms displayed a real interest in the theatre, attempting, often unsuccessfully, to write and stage plays.  His correspondence also shows a recurring concern with the opinions and evaluations of the great Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest, for whom Simms wrote several dramas, none of which were ever staged.[1]  Taking into account the author’s deep and abiding interest ...
Areytos

Areytos

Poetry | John Russell | 1846
            Published in 1846 by John Russell in Charleston, SC, Areytos was also titled Songs of the South, because all the poems dealt with subject matter related to the southern United States.  Many had been published previously in various periodicals.[1] Simms issued this collection on the heels of his Grouped Thoughts and Scattered Fancies. A Collection of Sonnets.[2]  Thinking of himself primarily as a poet and wanting to secure his place as one of America’s best, he followed the publications of Grouped Thoughts (1845) and Areytos (1846) with five other volumes of poetry, all published ...
Atalantis; A Story of the Sea.

Atalantis; A Story of the Sea.

Poetry | Carey and Hart | 1849
            Though the first edition of Atalantis.  A Story of the Sea (1832) was well received by reviewers both North and South, it had only one printing.  The limited print run of just 500 copies meant that relatively few readers could enjoy the many “uncommonly strong and vigorous passages” that comprised William Gilmore Simms’s fanciful tale.[1]  Simms was early convinced that a larger readership existed and that Atalantis offered him an opportunity to increase his reputation in both the Northern states and Europe.  In 1837 he wrote to James Lawson, one of his best friends ...
Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion.

Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion.

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
            Early in the morning of 7 November 1825, in the town of Frankfort, KY, a young lawyer named Jereboam O. Beauchamp crept to the house of the state attorney general, Solomon P. Sharp, and stabbed him to death.  The murder was orchestrated to avenge the honor of Anna Cook[1], Beauchamp’s wife, who as a single woman had been seduced, impregnated, and abandoned by Sharp[2].  The event was a national sensation immediately following its discovery and Beauchamp’s capture days later.  Following Cook and Beauchamp’s failed joint suicide attempt and the latter’s subsequent execution, ...
Border Beagles:  A Tale of Mississippi

Border Beagles: A Tale of Mississippi

Novel (Romance) | Carey and Hart | 1840
          In The Major Fiction of William Gilmore Simms, Mary Ann Wimsatt argues that Border Beagles, the sequel to the scandalous Richard Hurdis, shows Simms as continuing to explore the contentious relationship between the older, civilized tidewater south and the wild trans-mountain frontier.[1]  While thus continuing a theme begun with Guy Rivers and Richard Hurdis, Border Beagles saw Simms decidedly scaling back the violence found in those two books, especially the latter.  Here, the author’s presentation of the chaos and dangers of the frontier is tempered by humor, with ...
Castle Dismal; or, The Bachelor

Castle Dismal; or, The Bachelor's Christmas

Novella | Burgess, Stringer & Co. | 1844
            A gothic tale of ghosts, infidelity, murder, and love, Castle Dismal follows the protagonist Ned Clifton, a “veteran bachelor” who fears the bonds of marriage, in his holiday visit to the home of married friends.  Set during the Christmas season in South Carolina, Simms’s story illustrates the southern custom of bringing together family around a table to feast; and while Clifton eventually marries Elizabeth Singleton—freeing him from the “melancholy dependencies of bachelorism”—Simms subverts naïve nineteenth-century notions of marriage and domesticity.[1]  Marked ...
Charleston, and Her Satirists; a Scribblement.

Charleston, and Her Satirists; a Scribblement.

Poetry | 1848
            Charleston and Her Satirists consists of a single poem that William Gilmore Simms drafted in response to a previously published work on Charleston.  Simms is not directly identified as the author, but is referred to as “A City Bachelor.”  The work was printed and published in two sections by James S. Burges in Charleston, SC during 1848.  The first section probably came to press sometime around November 24, as that is when Simms sent a copy to J.H. Hammond.[1]  In the accompanying letter, Simms asked for Hammond’s opinion of the work, noting that he himself had some ...
Confession; or, The Blind Heart. A Domestic Story.

Confession; or, The Blind Heart. A Domestic Story.

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1841
            Building out of his early experiences with writing in the psychological gothic mode in such texts as Martin Faber (1833) and Carl Werner (1838) and anticipating his later work Castle Dismal (1844), William Gilmore Simms published Confesssion; or, The Blind Heart in 1841.  Coming at the front of what many consider to be the author’s most productive period, this novel is the extended confession of Edward Clifford who is orphaned at a young age and sent to be reared by his aunt and uncle in Charleston.  Rising above his foster parents’ scorn, Clifford becomes a lawyer, a prominent citizen, ...
Count Julian; or, The Last Days of the Goth

Count Julian; or, The Last Days of the Goth

Novel (Romance) | William Taylor & Co. | 1845 - 1846
                While generally considered to be one of Simms’s weakest novels, Count Julian; or, the Last Days of the Goth provides one of the most intriguing textual histories of any of the author’s numerous works.  Conceived as a sequel to Simms’s 1838 novel Pelayo, Count Julian continues Simms’s fictional treatment of Medieval Spain, dramatizing the legendary betrayal of Julian, Count of Cueta, an act that helped lead to the Muslim conquest of Iberia.  The work suffered from multiple delays in both composition and publication and was not published until 1845 or 1846, more ...
Donna Florida. A Tale.

Donna Florida. A Tale.

Poetry | Burges and James | 1843
            Donna Florida is a narrative poem dealing with Ponce de Leon's exploits in what would later become Spanish Florida.  Before full publication in 1843, portions of the poem appeared in The Boston Monthly in 1841 and in the February-May 1843 issues of the Magnolia.[1]  Simms more than likely paid for the publication of this work in book form himself, with the volume being issued in 1843 by Burges and James in Charleston, SC.[2] Simms described the work as not “published, but presented for private distribution.”[3]  Indeed, according to a 29 June 1843 letter that Simms sent ...
Egeria: or, Voices of Thought and Counsel, for The Woods and Wayside

Egeria: or, Voices of Thought and Counsel, for The Woods and Wayside

Miscellany | E.H. Butler & Co. | 1853
                Egeria: or, Voices of Thought and Counsel, for The Woods and Wayside was published by E.H. Butler of Philadelphia in 1853 as a collection of Simms-authored laconics written over the course of many years.[1]  Simms began composing his proverbs as early as April 1846 when he published selections of them in the Southern Patriot until April 1847 under the title, “Wayside Laconics.”  Soon afterward, Simms collected these alongside many others and sought Rufus Griswold’s assistance in locating a book publisher for the manuscript, which proved unsuccessful.  Simms then ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Sabbath Lyrics: A Christmas Gift of Love

Sabbath Lyrics: A Christmas Gift of Love

Poetry | Press of Walker and James | 1849
            Sabbath Lyrics is a collection of poems written by William Gilmore Simms based on Christian scripture.  The poems featured in this collection had been published previously in Godey’s throughout 1848 and 1849.[1]  These individual poems were published as a collection in 1849 by the Press of Walker and James in Charleston, SC.  Simms intended for this work to be, “a Christmas giftbook,” that people could give as a Christmas present to their loved ones.  His effort to find a printer for the work in July of 1849, however, was unsuccessful.[2]  In a letter to Nathaniel ...
Self-Development

Self-Development

Speech | The Thalian Society | 1847
            William Gilmore Simms was invited to give the oration, which would become Self-Development, by the Literary Societies of Oglethorpe University in Milledgeville, GA in 1847.  In consideration of his student audience, Simms took as his theme the nature and progress of the individual, especially in relation to his function within God’s plan.  The title quality, according to the author, is about recognizing one’s God-given potentials and subsequently nurturing and expressing them in action.  Everybody has inborn strengths and aptitudes; self-development is the art of fully ...
South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War

South-Carolina in the Revolutionary War

Reviews/Essays | Walker & James, Publishers | 1853
           Throughout his life, William Gilmore Simms was deeply invested in researching and interpreting the history of the American Revolution and was particularly concerned with promoting the participation of his native South Carolina in that conflict.  As evidenced by his biographies of Francis Marion and Nathanael Greene, his series of epic romances of the Revolution largely set in South Carolina, and his emphasis on the Revolution in his The History of South Carolina, Simms’s understanding of South Carolina’s role in the conflict was one of patriotism and heroic self-sacrifice.  ...
The Cassique of Accabee. Tale of Ashley River. With Other Pieces by William Gilmore Simms.

The Cassique of Accabee. Tale of Ashley River. With Other Pieces by William Gilmore Simms.

Poetry | John Russell | 1849
      The Cassique of Accabee, a volume of poetry by William Gilmore Simms, features one long narrative poem, which shares its title with the book.  The volume also contains a section of shorter poems.  These poems were all previously published in other forms before they appeared in this collection,[1] published by John Russell in 1849 in Charleston, South Carolina.  As James Kibler notes, the volume was completely printed by September 19, 1849, but copies were still being bound around September 27, 1849.[2]  Kibler observes further that subsequent copies of the work, all of which were ...
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