Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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City of the Silent

City of the Silent

Poetry | Walker & James, Publishers | 1850
            The City of the Silent is a poem of 500 lines written by William Gilmore Simms in November 1850.  It was published by Walker & James in Charleston, SC that same year.  The cover lists a specific date, November 19, which was the date that Simms delivered the poem at the consecration of the new Magnolia Cemetery on the banks of the Cooper River, just north of Charleston.  Although it was being published in December of 1850, and despite the fact the cover notes the date of publication as 1850, the work was released as a pamphlet in February of 1851.[1]             ...
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 ...
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 3

The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 3

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 1954
            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 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 ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
The Golden Christmas: A Chronicle of St. John

The Golden Christmas: A Chronicle of St. John's, Berkeley

Novella | Walker, Richards & Co. | 1852
                Published by Walker & Richards in 1852, The Golden Christmas is novella of social manners set in the lowcountry of Berkeley County near Charleston, South Carolina.  Geography is of central importance to both the book itself and the story within.  Charleston, as the home of the author, the setting of the story, and the location of the publisher and printer is as much the focus of the work as any characters or details of plot; in a 2005 introduction to the novella, critic David Aiken claims that The Golden Christmas “today provides one of the most comprehensive and accurate ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 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 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 ...
Vasconselos

Vasconselos

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1853
            Vasconselos is a Colonial Romance (Simms describes it as “ante-colonial,” meaning before European settlement in the future South).  It treats, in various levels of depth, a host of subject matters.[1]  The most notable is the Spanish effort to colonize the New World.  Within this exploration, Simms treats the adjustment of Spanish culture from Medieval to Early Modern standards, the effects of imperialistic ethics upon that culture, ruling class corruption, the alienation of racial and national minorities, and the historic De Soto expedition to mainland North America.  ...
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) | 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 ...
Poetry and the Practical

Poetry and the Practical

Speech | The University of Arkansas Press | 1996
         Poetry and the Practical was published in 1996 by The University of Arkansas Press as part of The Simms Series.  Edited with an introduction and notes by James Everett Kibler Jr., the book contains a lecture written by Simms between the years of 1851-54, which expanded from one to three parts.  Kibler summarizes the lecture as “a clear, forceful, inspired defense of poetry against those who would relegate it to the margins of life.”[1]  In a 12 November 1850 letter to Evert Augustus Duyckinck, Simms made first mention of the lecture: “I recieve [sic] another application for a public Lecture ...
Southward Ho!  A Spell of Sunshine

Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
            William Gilmore Simms assembled his 1854 Southward Ho!  A Spell of Sunshine largely out of his various periodical fiction publications, many from the late 1840s.  Often categorized as one of the author's novels, the work is organized as a collection of short stories unified by the central narrative conceit of a group of storytelling passengers on a sea voyage from New York to Charleston.[1]  The travelers pass the time by sharing stories of their homes or other familiar (usually southern) locales.  Because of this organization, John C. Guilds says the text exhibits ...
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 ...
Woodcraft; or, Hawks About the Dovecote

Woodcraft; or, Hawks About the Dovecote

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
       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 ...
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