Wlliam Gilmore Simms
As Good as a Comedy and Paddy McGann >> As Good as a Comedy and Paddy McGann >> Front Matter

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Front Matter

Novel (Romance) | U of South Carolina P | 1972


            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, as a part of the Centennial Edition of the Works of William Gilmore Simms, by the University of South Carolina Press. Work on this series began in 1964 under the leadership of John Caldwell Guilds, James B. Meriwether, and Donald Davidson.  The series attempted to “present a critical, unmodernized text of Simms’s selected prose and poetry, in accordance with the textual principles and standards established by Fredson Bowers in the Centenary edition of Hawthorne.”[1]   Though labeled Volume III, the book that contains As Good as a Comedy and Paddy McGann was the second published in the Centennial Edition series.