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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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, ...
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 ...
Sir Will O

Sir Will O'Wisp; Or the Irish Baronet; a Tale of its own day

Novel (Romance) | 2014
...
The Book of My Lady:  A Melange

The Book of My Lady: A Melange

Miscellany | Key & Biddle | 1833
                While a minor work overall in the Simms canon, The Book of My Lady: A Melange, published in 1833 by Key & Biddle of Philadelphia, is nevertheless an important text.  Here, Simms presents several stories that appear in later works, positioning The Book of My Lady as an interesting transitional work.  This collection of nineteen stories and ten poems also provides a clear glimpse of the influence of Romanticism on Simms, particularly in his thinking about the complex relationships between art, history, and nationality—subjects that would fascinate the author throughout ...
The Cosmopolitan:  An Occasional

The Cosmopolitan: An Occasional

Miscellany | Wm. Estill | 1833
                Simms was the primary, anonymous contributor to the Cosmopolitan: An Occasional, and the two numbers of this short-lived publication reveal the state of his talents at the end of his apprenticeship period.  Issued in May and July 1833 by Wm. Estill of Charleston, the two issues of the Cosmopolitan are among the works leading to what John C. Guilds calls Simms’s “flurry of literary efforts that produced four major works of fiction within the next two years.”.[1] As such, Guilds suggests that the Cosmopolitan be considered not so much for the quality of Simms’s inconsistent ...
The Remains of Maynard Davis Richardson with a Memoir of His Life

The Remains of Maynard Davis Richardson with a Memoir of His Life

Documents | O. A. Roorback | 1833
                One of Simms’s most personal works, The Remains of Maynard Davis Richardson is an editorial project the writer undertook after his good friend Richardson’s premature death at the age of 20 on 12 October 1832.  While details about their friendship remain scarce, it is known that Richardson accompanied Simms on the writer’s first trip to the North,[1] and Simms dedicated his long 1832 narrative poem Atalantis to him, referring to the younger man’s “high moral and intellectual worth” in his dedicatory note.  The families of the two men had been long acquainted ...
The Simms Review (Vol 18: Nos 1-2)

The Simms Review (Vol 18: Nos 1-2)

Scholarship | 2010
          Launched in 1993 in conjunction with the foundation of the William Gilmore Simms Society, The Simms Review touted itself as the official place of record for the Society.  In addition, the Review was the first and only academic periodical dedicated to the life and writings of the famous author.  As such, it served as a gathering place for scholars, Simms family members, and readers interested in Simms’s work.  With its 2012 issue, The Simms Review celebrated its twentieth anniversary, making it among the longest running continually-published single-author journals in the country. ...
The Simms Review (Vol 19: Nos 1-2)

The Simms Review (Vol 19: Nos 1-2)

Scholarship | 2011
          Launched in 1993 in conjunction with the foundation of the William Gilmore Simms Society, The Simms Review touted itself as the official place of record for the Society.  In addition, the Review was the first and only academic periodical dedicated to the life and writings of the famous author.  As such, it served as a gathering place for scholars, Simms family members, and readers interested in Simms’s work.  With its 2012 issue, The Simms Review celebrated its twentieth anniversary, making it among the longest running continually-published single-author journals in the country. ...
The Simms Review (Vol 20: Nos 1-2)

The Simms Review (Vol 20: Nos 1-2)

Scholarship | 2012
          Launched in 1993 in conjunction with the foundation of the William Gilmore Simms Society, The Simms Review touted itself as the official place of record for the Society.  In addition, the Review was the first and only academic periodical dedicated to the life and writings of the famous author.  As such, it served as a gathering place for scholars, Simms family members, and readers interested in Simms’s work.  With its 2012 issue, The Simms Review celebrated its twentieth anniversary, making it among the longest running continually-published single-author journals in the country. ...
The Simms Review (Vol 21: Nos 1-2)

The Simms Review (Vol 21: Nos 1-2)

Scholarship | 2013
          Launched in 1993 in conjunction with the foundation of the William Gilmore Simms Society, The Simms Review touted itself as the official place of record for the Society.  In addition, the Review was the first and only academic periodical dedicated to the life and writings of the famous author.  As such, it served as a gathering place for scholars, Simms family members, and readers interested in Simms’s work.  With its 2012 issue, The Simms Review celebrated its twentieth anniversary, making it among the longest running continually-published single-author journals in the country. ...
The Simms Review (Vol 22: Nos 1-2)

The Simms Review (Vol 22: Nos 1-2)

Scholarship | 2014
          Launched in 1993 in conjunction with the foundation of the William Gilmore Simms Society, The Simms Review touted itself as the official place of record for the Society.  In addition, the Review was the first and only academic periodical dedicated to the life and writings of the famous author.  As such, it served as a gathering place for scholars, Simms family members, and readers interested in Simms’s work.  With its 2012 issue, The Simms Review celebrated its twentieth anniversary, making it among the longest running continually-published single-author journals in the country. ...
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 ...
Donna Florida. A Tale.

Donna Florida. A Tale.

Early Modern History | Poetry | Burges and James | 1843
            Donna Florida is a narrative poem dealing with Ponce de Leon's exploits in what would later become Spanish Florida.  Before full publication in 1843, portions of the poem appeared in The Boston Monthly in 1841 and in the February-May 1843 issues of the Magnolia.[1]  Simms more than likely paid for the publication of this work in book form himself, with the volume being issued in 1843 by Burges and James in Charleston, SC.[2] Simms described the work as not “published, but presented for private distribution.”[3]  Indeed, according to a 29 June 1843 letter that Simms sent ...
The Brothers of the Coast. a Romance.

The Brothers of the Coast. a Romance.

Early Modern History | Novel (Romance) | 2014
...
The Damsel of Darien

The Damsel of Darien

Early Modern History | Novel (Romance) | Lea and Blanchard | 1839
           The Damsel of Darien was published in two volumes in 1839.  Simms first mentioned the story to James Lawson in a 2 September 1838 letter, revealing that he “wrote during the first part of the summer some 150 pages of a new novel & there it sticks.”[1]  Simms informed Lawson in January of 1839 that Damsel would be published with Lea & Blanchard of Philadelphia, who would pay $1000 for a first edition of 3,000 copies; in the meantime, Simms was busy revising the “numerous errors of history & geography” committed while composing the first volume of the story.[2]  ...
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

Early Modern History | History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1842
            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 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

Early Modern History | History | S. Babcock & Co. | 1840
            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 Social Principle

The Social Principle

Early Modern History | Speech | The Erosophic Society of the University of Alabama | 1843
            William Gilmore Simms delivered his lecture The Social Principle: The True Source of National Permanence to the Erosophic Society[1] at the University of Alabama on 13 December 1842 during the occasion of his receiving an honorary LL.D. degree from that university.[2]  An important text in Simms studies, this oration marks “Simms’s single most extensive published exposition of his social philosophy.”[3]  He took as the genesis for his talk what he perceived as the fundamentally changed nature of the environs of western Alabama from his previous visit to the area, ...
The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems.

The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems.

Early Modern History | Poetry | James S. Burges, 44 Queen Street | 1829
            The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and Other Poems, Simms's fourth separate publication, was issued in the summer of 1829.  Like his three previous works, it is a volume of poetry.  Comprised primarily of the three long poems “The Vision of Cortes,” “Cain,” and “Ashley River,” the volume also contains a number of shorter works, some of which had been previously published in other venues.  The subject matter of the volume ranges widely, moving from the title poem, which recalls in verse the 1518 expedition of Hernán Cortés into Mexico, to an ode to South Carolina’s ...
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.  ...
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