Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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Revolutionary HistoryEra of the Early RepublicAntebellum Period
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As Good as a Comedy, or the Tennessean

As Good as a Comedy, or the Tennessean's Story

Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | A. Hart | 1852
            As Good as a Comedy and Paddy McGann are two short novels that reveal Simms’s talents as a comedic writer.  While other works, like Border Beagles, contain humorous sections or characters, these two works stand out as sustained comedic successes.  In these, Simms shows an understanding of and skill at utilizing the tropes of frontier humor, popularized by the likes of A.B. Longstreet’s Georgia Scenes, as well as a use of humor as social commentary that foreshadowed the work of Twain.  While each was published previously, they were published together in one volume in 1972, ...
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) | 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 ...
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, ...
Confession; or, The Blind Heart. A Domestic Story

Confession; or, The Blind Heart. A Domestic Story

Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1856
            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, ...
Southward Ho!  A Spell of Sunshine

Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine

Antebellum Period | Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
            William Gilmore Simms assembled his 1854 Southward Ho!  A Spell of Sunshine largely out of his various periodical fiction publications, many from the late 1840s.  Often categorized as one of the author's novels, the work is organized as a collection of short stories unified by the central narrative conceit of a group of storytelling passengers on a sea voyage from New York to Charleston.[1]  The travelers pass the time by sharing stories of their homes or other familiar (usually southern) locales.  Because of this organization, John C. Guilds says the text exhibits ...