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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      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 ...
      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 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 ...
      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 ...
      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 ...
      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 ...