Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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Page 43

Scholarship | 1996

Renée Dye, "A Sociology of the Civil War: Simms's Paddy McGann, " Southern
Literary Journal, 28 (Spring 1996), 3-23.

James E. Kibler, "Simms's Poem for the Opening of the New Charleston Theatre,"

Southern Literary Journal, 28 (Spring 1996), 24-31.
_______, "Simms's Prophetic Muse," Mississippi Quarterly, 49 (Winter
1996), 109-113.
_______, Review of Mary Ann Wimsatt, Stories of the South by W.G.
Simms, Southern Quarterly, 35 (Fall 1996), 18-19.

Tales of the South

by William Gilmore Simms

Edited with an introduction by Mary Ann Wimsatt

William Gilmore Simms—a nineteenth-century American writer whose popularity once surpassed that
of Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville—received his greatest acclaim for such widely read novels as
Guy Rivers, The Yemassee, and The Partisan. He also penned an assortment of short stories that, though
less well known than his novels, are now regarded by an expanding circle of critics as his most impres-
sive body of work. With Tales of the South, Mary Ann Wimsatt assembles a representative sampling of
Simms's short fiction and restores these classic tales to their rightful place in America's literary canon.
Deftly combining homespun realism with impressive flights of fantasy, these fourteen stories
offer intimate views of nineteenth-century work and domesticity while exploring the legends, supersti-
tions, and folk experiences that circulated through all classes and races of antebellum society. Simms's
sprightly, highly imaginative tales reflect his ties to British and American romanticism, his genius for
tall-tale humor, and his keen interest in Native American culture.
In introducing the stories, Wimsatt explores the various contexts—biographical, historical,
economic, and literary—from which Simms's short fiction emerged. Beginning with his childhood in
Charleston, South Carolina, she chronicles the events that shaped his writing and charts the changing
literary fashions that have influenced critical responses to his work from the postbellum era until the
late twentieth century. Wimsatt contends that, until recently, Simms's literary achievements have been
eclipsed by his proslavery, secessionist stance, by ignorance of his principal genres, and by a general
misunderstanding of Southern culture and literature. With Tales of the South, Wimsatt rescues the short
stories of this major American writer from contemporary obscurity and assesses the current resurgence
of interest in Simms and his literary achievements.

University of South Carolina Press
Cloth, 1-57003-086-3, $49.95
Paper, 1-57003-087-1, $17.95
347 pages
Contact Linda Fogle at (803) 777-4848, FAX (803) 777-0160, e-mail linda@uscpress.sc.edu