Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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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 ...
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 ...
Early Lays

Early Lays

Poetry | A.E. Miller | 1827
            The year 1827 was an eventful one for William Gilmore Simms.  He completed reading law in the office of boyhood friend Charles Rivers Carroll and was appointed as a magistrate for Charleston; his first child, Anna Augusta Singleton, was born, and he published two volumes of collected poetry.[1]  Early Lays was the second of those volumes and it was published by A.E. Miller of Charleston in the fall of 1827.[2]  In his dedication Simms noted, however, that the material in Early Lays was “principally compiled from a surplus quantity of matter left from the publication ...
The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems.

The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems.

Poetry | James S. Burges, 44 Queen Street | 1829
            The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems, Simms's fourth separate publication, was issued in the summer of 1829.  Like his three previous works, it is a volume of poetry.  Comprised primarily of the three long poems “The Vision of Cortes,” “Cain,” and “Ashley River,” the volume also contains a number of shorter works, some of which had been previously published in other venues.  The subject matter of the volume ranges widely, moving from the title poem, which recalls in verse the 1518 expedition of Hernán Cortés into Mexico, to an ode to South Carolina’s ...
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 1

The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 1

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 1952
            In his lifetime, William Gilmore Simms “was the author of thirty-four works of fiction, nineteen volumes of poetry, three of drama, three anthologies, three volumes of history, two of geography, six of biography, and twelve of reviews, miscellanies and addresses, a total of eighty-two volumes.”[1]  The estimate of the output was impressive, if not quite complete.[2]  Regardless, Simms’s influence was unparalleled.  No mid-nineteenth-century writer and editor did more to frame white southern self-identity and nationalism, shape southern historical consciousness, or foster ...
The Tri-Color; or The Three Days of Blood in Paris. With Some Other Pieces

The Tri-Color; or The Three Days of Blood in Paris. With Some Other Pieces

Poetry | Wigfall & Davis, Strand | c. 1831
          William Gilmore Simms published The Tri-Color; or the Three Days of Blood, in Paris. With Some Other Pieces in the winter of 1830 or the spring of 1831.  He did so anonymously, and the advertisement at the front of the text says simply, “The Work, now offered to the notice of the British Public, is by an American Citizen.”  Though Simms told James Lawson that he did not “wish to be known as its author for a variety of reasons,” he did list it among his publications multiple times within his letters.[1]  James Kibler suggests that one reason that Simms may have ...
Atalantis.  A Story of the Sea: In Three Parts.

Atalantis. A Story of the Sea: In Three Parts.

Poetry | J. & J. Harper | 1832
            William Gilmore Simms published Atalantis.  A Story of the Sea: In Three Parts in the fall of 1832.  While Simms’s name does not appear anywhere on or in the text, it is unlikely that he sought any type of anonymity in its publication.  Within weeks of its appearing in print a reviewer in the Charleston Courier announced, “It is attributed to the pen of our fellow-townsman, William Gilmore Simms, Esq.…”[1]  Even without such prompting anyone familiar with Simms’s work would have quickly recognized his authorship, because the opening sonnet was one that he had previously ...
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 ...
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 ...
The Book of My Lady:  A Melange

The Book of My Lady: A Melange

Miscellany | Key & Biddle | 1833
                While a minor work overall in the Simms canon, The Book of My Lady: A Melange, published in 1833 by Key & Biddle of Philadelphia, is nevertheless an important text.  Here, Simms presents several stories that appear in later works, positioning The Book of My Lady as an interesting transitional work.  This collection of nineteen stories and ten poems also provides a clear glimpse of the influence of Romanticism on Simms, particularly in his thinking about the complex relationships between art, history, and nationality—subjects that would fascinate the author throughout ...
The Cosmopolitan:  An Occasional

The Cosmopolitan: An Occasional

Miscellany | Wm. Estill | 1833
                Simms was the primary, anonymous contributor to the Cosmopolitan: An Occasional, and the two numbers of this short-lived publication reveal the state of his talents at the end of his apprenticeship period.  Issued in May and July 1833 by Wm. Estill of Charleston, the two issues of the Cosmopolitan are among the works leading to what John C. Guilds calls Simms’s “flurry of literary efforts that produced four major works of fiction within the next two years.”.[1] As such, Guilds suggests that the Cosmopolitan be considered not so much for the quality of Simms’s inconsistent ...
The Remains of Maynard Davis Richardson with a Memoir of His Life

The Remains of Maynard Davis Richardson with a Memoir of His Life

Documents | O. A. Roorback | 1833
                One of Simms’s most personal works, The Remains of Maynard Davis Richardson is an editorial project the writer undertook after his good friend Richardson’s premature death at the age of 20 on 12 October 1832.  While details about their friendship remain scarce, it is known that Richardson accompanied Simms on the writer’s first trip to the North,[1] and Simms dedicated his long 1832 narrative poem Atalantis to him, referring to the younger man’s “high moral and intellectual worth” in his dedicatory note.  The families of the two men had been long acquainted ...
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement

The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
            In his lifetime, William Gilmore Simms “was the author of thirty-four works of fiction, nineteen volumes of poetry, three of drama, three anthologies, three volumes of history, two of geography, six of biography, and twelve of reviews, miscellanies and addresses, a total of eighty-two volumes.”[1]  The estimate of the output was impressive, if not quite complete.[2]  Regardless, Simms’s influence was unparalleled.  No mid-nineteenth-century writer and editor did more to frame white southern self-identity and nationalism, shape southern historical consciousness, or foster ...
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 ...
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 ...
Slavery in America

Slavery in America

Reviews/Essays | Thomas W. White | 1838
           A month before the Battle of Fort Sumter, Simms, in a letter to William Porcher Miles, asserted that the system that was about to plunge the nation into the Civil War was misunderstood:  “In 1835 I took the ground, in my pamphlet on the Morals of Slavery, that our Institution was not slavery at all, in the usual acceptation of the term[…]but that the negro in the South was a minor, under guardianship[…]was distinctly individualized, & protected in all his rights & privileges, through a representative master.”[1]  The pamphlet to which Simms referred was Slavery ...
Carl Werner, An Imaginative Story; with Other Tales of Imagination

Carl Werner, An Imaginative Story; with Other Tales of Imagination

Short Stories | George Adlard | 1838
           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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
Southern Passages and Pictures

Southern Passages and Pictures

Poetry | George Adlard | 1839
            Southern Passages and Pictures is a volume of poetry by William Gilmore Simms, although his name is not mentioned directly on the title page. The work announced its author simply as the writer of “Atalantis,” “The Yemassee,” “Guy Rivers,” and “Carl Werner,” perhaps assuming that readers would know Simms in association with his authorship of these well-read works.  The volume was published in December of 1838 by George Adlard, who also published Carl Werner on Simms’s behalf.  Craighead and Allen were the Printers. Although Southern Passages and Pictures was published ...
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 ...
The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic

The History of South Carolina, From Its First European Discovery to Its Erection into a Republic

History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1842
            Believing it “necessary to the public man, as to the pupil,” Simms undertook The History of South Carolina explicitly for the education of the state’s young people, so as to tell them the vibrant history of the state and the distinguished accomplishments of her leaders.[1]  There is evidence to suggest that Simms was particularly motivated to write such a history in order to provide an historical account of South Carolina and notable South Carolinians, to his eldest child Augusta, who was attending boarding school in Massachusetts in the late 1830s.[2]  Simms seemingly ...
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, ...
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