Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Life of the Chevalier Bayard >> The Life of the Chevalier Bayard >> Front Matter

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Front Matter

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 in a letter to Evert Augustus Duyckinck from October of that year, he indicated his intentions to publish a biography under a pseudonym.[3]  A January 1847 letter to James Henry Hammond revealed that Simms received an advance from Harper & Brothers to publish Bayard with an agreement that he would complete the manuscript and deliver it to New York.[4]  Having finished the manuscript in April 1847, Simms headed North in May to have the book printed and published under his name.[5]  A December 1847 issue of The Literary World declared that Bayard was “now in press” and provided excerpts of the biography.[6]  The work was dedicated to fellow Charleston native and classical archaeologist, John Izard Middleton.[7]