Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Charleston Book: A Miscellany in Prose and Verse >> The Charleston Book: A Miscellany in Prose and Verse >> The Greek Language

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The Greek Language

Miscellany | The Reprint Company; Samuel Hart, Sen. | 1845, 1983

Introduction

           One of the major American cities of the mid-19th century, Charleston was viewed by its citizens as a hub of culture and erudition equal to that of the other great cities of the time, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.  To illustrate the quality of the city’s intellectual life and literary merits, “Charleston book-seller and Reform Jewish leader Samuel Hart, Sr. proposed that Charlestonians join the trend” of putting together an anthology of writings by city residents, much as several other cities had done throughout the late 1830s.[1]  Simms, the leading literary figure of Charleston, and one of the nation’s most widely-read and celebrated authors, was an easy choice for the project’s editor.  Conceived of in 1841, and finally published in 1845, The Charleston Book found little commercial success[2].  Yet, the book is an important document of the vibrant literary scene of mid-century Charleston, one which reveals much about Simms’s understanding of the relationship of his home city and region to the overall intellectual life of the nation.  For these reasons, the University of South Carolina’s Southern Studies program published a reprint of The Charleston Book as a part of their South Caroliniana series in 1983, rounded out by a new introduction as well as biographical and bibliographical notes.

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