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
Refined by:
  • Places of publication: New York, NY (x)
Refine by: Refine by people: Refine by location:
    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, ...
    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 ...
    Count Julian; or, The Last Days of the Goth

    Count Julian; or, The Last Days of the Goth

    Medieval History | 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 ...
    Pelayo:  A Story of the Goth

    Pelayo: A Story of the Goth

    Medieval History | 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 ...
    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

    Medieval History | History | Redfield | 1860
                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 ...
    The Life of the Chevalier Bayard

    The Life of the Chevalier Bayard

    Medieval History | Biography | Harper & Brothers | 1847
               For Simms, it was in a time “when chivalry was at its lowest condition in Christian Europe,” that the Chevalier Bayard provided the world, “the happiest illustration, in a single great example, of its ancient pride and character,” and “the most admirable model to the generous ambition of the young that we find in all the pages of history.”[1]  Simms wrote The Life of Chevalier Bayard, a biography of the late-medieval French knight, to serve as an archetype of virtue for Americans.  In 1845, Simms had written two articles on Bayard for Southern and Western[2], and ...
    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 ...
    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 ...
    The Yemassee.  A Romance of Carolina.

    The Yemassee. A Romance of Carolina.

    British Colonial History | 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 ...
    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 ...
    Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

    Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee

    Revolutionary History | 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 Army Correspondence of Colonel John Laurens, in the Years 1777-8, Now First Printed from Original Letters Addressed to His Father, Henry Laurens, President of Congress, with a Memoir

    The Army Correspondence of Colonel John Laurens, in the Years 1777-8, Now First Printed from Original Letters Addressed to His Father, Henry Laurens, President of Congress, with a Memoir

    Revolutionary History | Documents | The Bradford Club | 1867
                    The Army Correspondence of Colonel John Laurens was published in an 1867 limited edition printing by the Bradford Club of New York.[1]  This collection displays Simms’s efforts of documentary editing in the vein of a similar project he published the prior year, Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond (1866).  The Army Correspondence consists of letters John Laurens wrote to his father, Henry, between the years of 1777 and 1778 during his service with the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War.  The volume also features an introductory ...
    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 Life of Francis Marion

    The Life of Francis Marion

    Revolutionary History | Biography | Henry G. Langley | 1844
    A significant aim throughout Simms’s work is to provide South Carolina, and the South generally, with pride of place in the emergence of the American nation, its people, and their national character.  Simms does this work largely through his narration of the Revolutionary War in South Carolina, the focus of numerous romances, histories, and other works.  One such work is The Life of Francis Marion, a biography of the legendary “Swamp Fox.”  Simms’s interest in Marion is pronounced, as the famous general appears in several of the revolutionary romances; while flawed at times, Simms’s ...
    The Life of Nathanael Greene, Major-General in the Army of the Revolution

    The Life of Nathanael Greene, Major-General in the Army of the Revolution

    Revolutionary History | Biography | Geo. F. Cooledge & Brother | 1849
                    Simms was interested in the American Revolution throughout his career, writing significant works about the conflict in both fiction and nonfiction.  By 1840, he had already produced the first edition of his History of South Carolina as well as two of his Revolutionary Romances, all of which are works largely concerned with the effect of the Revolution on his native state.  Around this same time, Simms had decided to complement this work by writing biographies.  In April 1840, he wrote to James Lawson that he was “meditating and taking notes for several Biographies—say ...
    The Partisan:  A Tale of the Revolution

    The Partisan: A Tale of the Revolution

    Revolutionary History | 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

    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 ...
    Next