Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Subject time periods
Spanish Colonial HistoryAncient HistoryFrench Colonial History
Medieval HistoryEarly Modern HistoryBritish Colonial History
Revolutionary HistoryEra of the Early RepublicAntebellum Period
Civil War and Early Reconstruction
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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 ...
    The Lily and the Totem, or, The Huguenots in Florida

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

    French Colonial History | 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 ...
    The Brothers of the Coast. a Romance.

    The Brothers of the Coast. a Romance.

    Early Modern History | Novel (Romance) | 2014
    ...
    The Wigwam and the Cabin

    The Wigwam and the Cabin

    British Colonial History | Short Stories | Redfield | 1856
                    Originally published by Wiley and Putnam in two volumes—the first series in October 1845 and the second in February 1846—for the Library of American Books series, The Wigwam and the Cabin is a collection of border stories about the southwestern frontier.  Simms best summarized the collection in a dedicatory letter to his father-in-law for the 1856 Redfield edition: “One word for the material of these legends.  It is local, sectional—and to be national in literature, one must needs be sectional.  No one mind can fully or fairly illustrate the characteristics of any great ...
    The Yemassee: A Romance of Carolina

    The Yemassee: A Romance of Carolina

    British Colonial History | 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 ...
    Benedict Arnold: The Traitor. A Drama, In An Essay

    Benedict Arnold: The Traitor. A Drama, In An Essay

    Revolutionary History | Drama | 1863
              Throughout Simms’s career, one of his paramount concerns was the connection between art and history, and the role of the literary artist in conveying history.  While readers see Simms exploring these connections in his Revolutionary Romances, other scattered works of fiction, and the essays in Views and Reviews, one of the writer’s most intriguing presentations of the ability of art to interpret history is in the genre-mixing Benedict Arnold: The Traitor. A Drama, in an Essay.  Critic Miriam J. Shillingsburg regards Benedict Arnold as worthy of commendation for its “thoughtful ...
    Eutaw

    Eutaw

    Revolutionary History | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1856
                Eutaw, published by Redfield on 19 April 1856, is the sequel to The Forayers, and the penultimate romance in Simms's Revolutionary War saga[1].  It completes the story of the British withdrawal from their outpost at Ninety-Six, including the battle of Eutaw Springs, the last major engagement of the Carolina theatre, and its aftermath.  Simms’s biographer John Caldwell Guilds notes that it is necessary to understand Eutaw as a sequel, as it was “not a new venture but the extension and completion of a scheme which kept expanding in the author's fertile imagination.”[2]  ...
    Katharine Walton; or, The Rebel of Dorchester

    Katharine Walton; or, The Rebel of Dorchester

    Revolutionary History | 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

    Revolutionary History | 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 ...
    The Forayers; or, The Raid of the Dog-Days

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

    Revolutionary History | 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 Romance of the Revolution

    The Partisan: A Romance of the Revolution

    Revolutionary History | 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 Scout; or, the Black Riders of Congaree.

    The Scout; or, the Black Riders of Congaree.

    Revolutionary History | 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

    Revolutionary History | 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 ...
    Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

    Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    Richard Hurdis: A Tale of Alabama

    Richard Hurdis: A Tale of Alabama

    Era of the Early Republic | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1855
               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 ...
    Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy

    Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy

    Antebellum Period | 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, ...
    Border Beagles:  A Tale of Mississippi

    Border Beagles: A Tale of Mississippi

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Charlemont; or, The Pride of the Village

    Charlemont; or, The Pride of the Village

    Antebellum Period | 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, ...
    Confession; or, The Blind Heart. A Domestic Story

    Confession; or, The Blind Heart. A Domestic Story

    Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1856
                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, ...
    Egeria: or, Voices of Thought and Counsel, for The Woods and Wayside

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

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College

    Inauguration of the Spartanburg Female College

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    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.

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

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

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Simms

    Simms's Poems: Areytos or Songs and Ballads of the South with Other Poems

    Antebellum Period | Poetry | Russell & Jones | 1860
                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 ...
    Southward Ho!  A Spell of Sunshine

    Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
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