Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Subject time periods
Ancient HistoryFrench Colonial HistorySpanish Colonial History
Medieval HistoryEarly Modern HistoryBritish Colonial History
Revolutionary HistoryEra of the Early RepublicAntebellum Period
Civil War and Early Reconstruction
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  • Publication date: 1830s (x)
  • Holding Institution: University of South Carolina, South Caroliniana Library (x)
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    Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion.

    Beauchampe; or, The Kentucky Tragedy. A Tale of Passion.

    Era of the Early Republic | Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1842
                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, ...
    Early Lays

    Early Lays

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    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 ...
    Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

    Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    Lyrical and Other Poems

    Lyrical and Other Poems

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    Richard Hurdis; or, The Avenger of Blood. A Tale of Alabama.

    Richard Hurdis; or, The Avenger of Blood. A Tale of Alabama.

    Era of the Early Republic | 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 ...
    The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 1

    The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 1

    Era of the Early Republic | 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

    Era of the Early Republic | 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.

    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 ...
    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) | 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 ...
    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 ...
    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 ...
    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, ...
    Martin Faber and Other Tales

    Martin Faber and Other Tales

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Martin Faber:  The Story of a Criminal

    Martin Faber: The Story of a Criminal

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Matilda: or, The Spectre of the Castle.  An Imaginative Story.

    Matilda: or, The Spectre of the Castle. An Imaginative Story.

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas

    Michael Bonham; or, The Fall of Bexar. A Tale of Texas

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Slavery in America

    Slavery in America

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
    Southern Passages and Pictures

    Southern Passages and Pictures

    Antebellum Period | 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 ...
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