Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 4: No 2) >> Some Current Scholarly Desiderata in the Simms Field >> Page 34

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Page 34

Secondary Scholarship | 1996
Transcription information about one specific item, though without much success.1
Nevertheless, there is, as always with the BAL, information that is useful and,
at least collectively, unavailable elsewhere.2
And what of the almost innumerable, and of course even more
neglected, contributions by Simms to books, periodicals, and newspapers?
The list of Simms's writings in the index of volume five of the Letters is the
indispensable starting point. But it is limited to items included in the letter
themselves or mentioned in the footnotes.
Fortunately, we can turn to separate listings of two categories of
Simms's contributions to books and periodicals. The best of them is Kibler's
listing of the poems in The Poetry of William Gilmore Simms. Also useful is
Betty Jo Strickland's listing of the short fiction. And though their very brief
listing of Simms's separate writings leaves something to be desired, Kibler's
1980 listing, and Keen Butterworth's, of "Writings about William Gilmore
Simms" is invaluable.
A few earlier contributions to the field of Simms bibliography might
be mentioned in passing, though they are of little use today. These include
the several compilations by A.S. Salley and Oscar Wegelin. But surprising as
it may seem, I have praise for the first attempt at a scholarly listing of
Simms's writings, that by William P. Trent. I can say little, if anything, in
praise of his achievements as a biographer, literary critic, or cultural
historian. But his "A Partial Bibliography of Simms's Writings," the
Appendix to his 1892 Simms biography, is carefully compiled and in some
ways more reliable than the BAL.3
Let me now turn again to the continuing and increasing need for a
comprehensive collected edition of Simms's writings. As early as 1962 I
called for a collected edition of Simms, pointing out the great need for it and
the editorial problems that such an edition would involve. In a major effort
to rectify this situation, a collected edition was undertaken at the University
of South Carolina, beginning in 1964. Between 1969 and 1974, four volumes
of the Centennial Edition of the Writings of William Gilmore Simms were
published by the University of South Carolina Press. All four received the
seal of approval of the Center for Editions of American Authors.4 John
Caldwell Guilds was General Editor, and James B. Meriwether was Textual
Editor. Proofreading and manufacturing costs were very expensive, and
initial sales were disappointing. Other volumes were in preparation when a