Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 4: No 2) >> Some Current Scholarly Desiderata in the Simms Field >> Page 35

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Page 35

Secondary Scholarship | 1996
Transcription change in administration deprived the edition of institutional support. Other
sources of funding were sought, but without success. Under the direction of
Guilds and Meriwether, a limited amount of bibliographical and textual
research for such an edition was continued, and the Editorial Board of the
Centennial Edition approved and assisted several separate but related
editorial projects on Simms. Other significant Simms bibliographical and
editorial projects on Simms were undertaken and published by several
younger Simms scholars who had done their graduate work at South Carolina
and had worked as research assistants for the Centennial Edition.
A project that was proposed by Guilds and Meriwether, a collected
microfiche reissue of Simms's separate writings with suitable introductions
progressed as far as a preliminary proposal to the National Endowment for
the Humanities in the 1980s, but was abandoned after discouraging responses
to funding requests.
The need for a well-edited collected edition of Simms grows steadily
greater. As interest in Simms continues to grow, the availability of many of
his writings decreases. The six volumes of his Letters are out of print and th
University of South Carolina Press has no intention to reprint them. This is
nothing short of disgraceful. It is also disgraceful that the four volumes of
the Centennial Edition have become unavailable, with no intention to reprint
them. But it is encouraging that the University of Arkansas Press has
undertaken a multi-volume new edition of the border and frontier fiction,
edited by Guilds, with the first of them, Guy Rivers, just out (March 1993).
This society must make every effort to support the University of Arkansas
Press in this endeavor—and perhaps, also, in an associated microform reissue
of original editions now unavailable, like the Letters.
Let me say again, in conclusion, if Simms the writer is to be accorded
the greater measure of critical justice all of us here agree that he deserves,
then our greatest need is a comprehensive edition that will make his writings
much more widely available. Then surely there will follow the many
scholarly and critical books and book chapters, the many scholarly and
critical articles and essays dealing with the various aspects of the life and
work and literary accomplishment of this, the most protean of our
antebellum American authors. And then, perhaps, there will even be justice
done to Simms in our standard literary histories and textbooks.