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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    A Supplement to the Plays of William Shakspeare

    A Supplement to the Plays of William Shakspeare

    Early Modern History | 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 ...
    Vasconselos

    Vasconselos

    Early Modern History | 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.  ...
    The Life of Captain John Smith. The Founder of Virginia.

    The Life of Captain John Smith. The Founder of Virginia.

    British Colonial History | Biography | Geo. F. Cooledge & Brother | 1847
               The Life of Captain John Smith was published by George F. Cooledge & Brother in March 1847 as part of The Illustrated Library series intended for school libraries and general reading.[1]  Simms’s letters indicate that he began the biography as early as November 1844 when he wrote to George Frederick Holmes: “I have half contracted to prepare a Life of Sumter, one of Paul Jones, and a third of John Smith, with a new edition of his history of Virginia.”[2]  By the middle of the month Simms informed James Lawson he had already “written a chapter.”  The process of getting ...
    Atalantis.  A Story of the Sea: In Three Parts.

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

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Carl Werner, An Imaginative Story; with Other Tales of Imagination

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

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Castle Dismal; or, The Bachelor

    Castle Dismal; or, The Bachelor's Christmas

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    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

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina

    Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina

    Antebellum Period | Documents | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
                    Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina was originally published in New York by John F. Trow & Co. in 1866.  The Southern Studies Program at the University of South Carolina included Selections in the South Caroliniana Series, and so it was published by the Reprint Company in 1978.  James Henry Hammond (1807-1864) served South Carolina as a member of Congress from 1835-1836, governor from 1842-1844, and United States senator from 1857 until 1860, when he resigned upon South Carolina’s secession from the Union.  Hammond ...
    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 ...
    The Power of Cotton: A Paper Read in the City of New York

    The Power of Cotton: A Paper Read in the City of New York

    Antebellum Period | Speech | 1856
             The Power of Cotton is a pamphlet published by Chatterton & Brother of New York in 1856.  The work claims to be a paper read in New York in November 1856.  The only known copy of the paper had been in the possession of Theodore Parker, the most prominent Unitarian and Transcendentalist minister in the northeast in 1856.  The work was bequeathed to the public library of the city of Boston from the Parker estate on 30 October 1864, four years after Parker’s passing.  On both the cover and title page, the precise location of the reading and the author’s name were both removed ...
    Views and Reviews in American Literature, History and Fiction

    Views and Reviews in American Literature, History and Fiction

    Antebellum Period | Reviews/Essays | Wiley and Putnam | 1845 - 1846
              Part of the Wiley and Putnam’s highly influential Library of American Books, Simms’s two-volume Views and Reviews in American Literature, History and Fiction, shows the author theorizing the “American” aspects of American literature, as well as the relationship between America’s history and its imaginative writing.  In this, we can see Simms presenting and promoting the cultural agenda of the “Young America” movement, whose members included Melville, Poe, and Hawthorne.  Views and Reviews is thus a central text in understanding the struggle for defining American literature ...
    War Poetry of the South

    War Poetry of the South

    Civil War and Early Reconstruction | Poetry | Richardson & Company | 1866
               In his study of the role of guerilla warfare in the Civil War, historian Daniel E. Sutherland observes that Southern authors, including William Gilmore Simms, played a significant role in promoting and advancing guerilla tactics as both a patriotic duty and a means of achieving victory; Sutherland notes that Simms had explicitly “promoted and sanctified partisan warfare.”[1]  While the author’s works about Revolutionary War figures like Thomas Sumter and Francis Marion were certainly repurposed and newly understood in the context of the Civil War, Simms wrote new poetry ...