Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter VII / Pocahontas; A Legend of Virginia

image of page
(Page 110)Explore Inside

Chapter VII / Pocahontas; A Legend of Virginia

Poetry | Redfield | 1854

Introduction

            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 a "Chaucerian framework,"[2] whereas Simms on several occasions described it with reference to The Decameron.[3]  In its content, Southward Ho! "contains observations on the people, politics, and geography of the various states along the eastern seaboard, but also as far west as Texas and Missouri."[4]  Although widely considered to be one of the author's lesser works,[5] this expansive view of the southern landscape and its varied cultures makes the book of interest today.  Of particular note are passages portraying the Native American as a kind of stagnant placeholder for European colonization, discussing the differences in the life of the planter versus the life of the manufacturer, and reflecting on the traditional animosity between North Carolina and her neighboring states.

...
Contents