Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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The Damsel of Darien

The Damsel of Darien

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1839
           The Damsel of Darien was published in two volumes in 1839.  Simms first mentioned the story to James Lawson in a 2 September 1838 letter, revealing that he “wrote during the first part of the summer some 150 pages of a new novel & there it sticks.”[1]  Simms informed Lawson in January of 1839 that Damsel would be published with Lea & Blanchard of Philadelphia, who would pay $1000 for a first edition of 3,000 copies; in the meantime, Simms was busy revising the “numerous errors of history & geography” committed while composing the first volume of the story.[2]  ...
The Yemassee.  A Romance of Carolina.

The Yemassee. A Romance of Carolina.

Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1835
            The Yemassee is historically the best known of the long fictions of William Gilmore Simms.  Set on the South Carolina frontier, Simms’s third book-length fiction treats the Yemassee War of 1715-17, when the Yemassee Indians, with their Spanish and Native American allies, attacked the low country colonial settlements.  Writing in the midst of the removal of natives from east of the Mississippi to the newly created Indian Territory in the future Oklahoma, Simms emphasized such motives for the war as the colonists’ need for land, the conflict between rival European powers ...
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 ...
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 ...
The Forayers; or, The Raid of the Dog-Days

The Forayers; or, The Raid of the Dog-Days

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1855
            Simms biographer John Caldwell Guilds notes that, in 1855, Simms would "enter a four-year period marked not by the exuberance and the surging creative force of the young Simms, but rather by an artistic imagination tempered and refined by maturity and experience."[1] The first major product of this new period was The Forayers, another in Simms's series of revolutionary romances, published by Redfield in 1855.  The Forayers is concerned with the British army's retreat from its outpost at Ninety-Six, and explores the events leading up the Battle of Eutaw Springs in 1781; ...
The Partisan:  A Tale of the Revolution

The Partisan: A Tale of the Revolution

Novel (Romance) | Harper & Brothers | 1835
          The Partisan: A Tale of the Revolution (1835) was the first composed of Simms’s series of romances about the Revolutionary War, though the second in the series’ overall chronology.  The Partisan was also the first of a “trilogy” of closely-related novels within Simms’s overall Revolutionary War saga, sharing characters and other links with Mellichampe (1836) and Katherine Walton (1851).[1] The novel deals with the 1780 Battle of Camden and its aftermath, especially the guerilla warfare tactics employed by “The Swamp Fox,” General Francis Marion, and other ...
The Partisan: A Romance of the Revolution

The Partisan: A Romance of the Revolution

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
          The Partisan: A Tale of the Revolution (1835) was the first composed of Simms’s series of romances about the Revolutionary War, though the second in the series’ overall chronology.  The Partisan was also the first of a “trilogy” of closely-related novels within Simms’s overall Revolutionary War saga, sharing characters and other links with Mellichampe (1836) and Katherine Walton (1851).[1] The novel deals with the 1780 Battle of Camden and its aftermath, especially the guerilla warfare tactics employed by “The Swamp Fox,” General Francis Marion, and other ...
The Kinsmen; or, the Black Riders of Congaree.  A Tale.

The Kinsmen; or, the Black Riders of Congaree. A Tale.

Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1841
            William Gilmore Simms’s third novel of the Revolutionary War (though fifth in order of plot chronology) was originally published in 1841 under the title The Kinsmen.  It became an early offering as part of the Redfield edition under its more popularly-known title The Scout in 1854.  A novel of familial conflict in the context of war and a broad-minded exploration of patriotism across classes, The Scout opens shortly after the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill (aka the Second Battle of Camden)[1] in May 1781.  The action ends with the British departure from the Star Fort at Ninety ...
The Scout; or, the Black Riders of Congaree.

The Scout; or, the Black Riders of Congaree.

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
            William Gilmore Simms’s third novel of the Revolutionary War (though fifth in order of plot chronology) was originally published in 1841 under the title The Kinsmen.  It became an early offering as part of the Redfield edition under its more popularly-known title The Scout in 1854.  A novel of familial conflict in the context of war and a broad-minded exploration of patriotism across classes, The Scout opens shortly after the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill (aka the Second Battle of Camden)[1] in May 1781.  The action ends with the British departure from the Star Fort at Ninety ...
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, ...
Charlemont; or, The Pride of the Village

Charlemont; or, The Pride of the Village

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1856
            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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Richard Hurdis; or, The Avenger of Blood. A Tale of Alabama.

Richard Hurdis; or, The Avenger of Blood. A Tale of Alabama.

Novel (Romance) | Carey and Hart | 1838
           Richard Hurdis, the second of Simms’s Border Romances (following Guy Rivers of 1834), presents an intriguing study of the author’s development, as its publication history illustrated Simms’s notorious sensitivity to critical reception.  Hurdis came out during a worrisome time in Simms’s life, with his second wife, Chevillette Eliza Roach Simms, severely ill while pregnant, and the writer’s relationship with his publisher, the Harper Brothers of New York, souring.  John C. Guilds notes that “alternating moods of depression and optimism—lifelong traits—soon became dominant ...
Border Beagles:  A Tale of Mississippi

Border Beagles: A Tale of Mississippi

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1855
          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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
The Lily and the Totem, or, The Huguenots in Florida

The Lily and the Totem, or, The Huguenots in Florida

Novel (Romance) | Baker and Scribner | 1850
                While it largely fell out of the public consciousness after the author’s death, Simms’s The Lily and the Totem is one of his most intriguing works, both because of its overall quality and its experimentation with the possibilities of mixing history and fiction.  While The Lily and the Totem is a story of French Huguenots in sixteenth-century Florida, it is not, importantly, a historical romance.  Rather, Simms here experimented with a new way in which to relate history—by telling history through fictionalized narratives that fill in the gaps between what we do and do ...
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 ...
As Good as a Comedy, or the Tennessean

As Good as a Comedy, or the Tennessean's Story

Novel (Romance) | A. Hart | 1852
            As Good as a Comedy and Paddy McGann are two short novels that reveal Simms’s talents as a comedic writer.  While other works, like Border Beagles, contain humorous sections or characters, these two works stand out as sustained comedic successes.  In these, Simms shows an understanding of and skill at utilizing the tropes of frontier humor, popularized by the likes of A.B. Longstreet’s Georgia Scenes, as well as a use of humor as social commentary that foreshadowed the work of Twain.  While each was published previously, they were published together in one volume in 1972, ...
The Sword and the Distaff; or, "Fair, Fat and Forty," A Story of the South, at the Close of Revolution

The Sword and the Distaff; or, "Fair, Fat and Forty," A Story of the South, at the Close of Revolution

Novel (Romance) | Walker, Richards & Co. | 1852
       Written in the “midst of one of the most productive creative surges in his career,”[1] Woodcraft; or, Hawks About the Dovecote: A Story of the South at the Close of the Revolution makes the most serious and sustained claim as Simms’s masterpiece in the novel form.[2]  The fifth novel composed in Simms’s saga of the American Revolution, it is set during the chaotic close and aftermath of the war.  This makes it the last (eighth) Revolutionary Romance in terms of chronological action. As the work opens, the British are evacuating Charleston in December 1782. Then the novel shifts ...
The Yemassee: A Romance of Carolina

The Yemassee: A Romance of Carolina

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
            The Yemassee is historically the best known of the long fictions of William Gilmore Simms.  Set on the South Carolina frontier, Simms’s third book-length fiction treats the Yemassee War of 1715-17, when the Yemassee Indians, with their Spanish and Native American allies, attacked the low country colonial settlements.  Writing in the midst of the removal of natives from east of the Mississippi to the newly created Indian Territory in the future Oklahoma, Simms emphasized such motives for the war as the colonists’ need for land, the conflict between rival European powers ...
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