Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 1) >> William Gilmore Simms and John Donald Wade >> Page 24

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 24

Secondary Scholarship | 1999
Transcription of Simms's work; but Van Doren was a suitable source of instruction: he wrote
an extensive article on Simms for the Dictionary of American Biography, where
he notes Simms's travels to New York at the beginning of his literary career. For
his notes on the 1, 13, and 15 March class meetings, Wade's notes reflect much
concerning Cooper, Hawthorne, and other American writers; the 13 March notes
include a tabular outline of key dates in 19`x'-century American literary history
For 1854, Wade writes:
M.S. Cummings Lamplighter. Here begins also JE Cooke with
tradition of Cooper, Simms. He introduces a courtliness &
chivalry lacking in Cooper & Simms.
For 1858, he cites Robert Lowell's The New Priest in Conception Bay, Harriet
Beecher Stowe's Ministers Wooing, and Simms's "Kassique [sic] of Kiawah
(underrated)" as notable events in literary history.
After a discussion of various novels by Stowe, Winthrop, Taylor, Hale,
Trowbridge, Howells, Twain, Harte, Lanier, Alcott, Aldrich, and Richards, on 15
march Wade records:
1859-70 had started a new type of domestic romance more popular
than any had been since Richardson. Realism had gained much
ground. Bret Harte & Mark Twain were simply doing in their way
for new frontier what Cooper and Simms had done in their time.
And on March 27, a class-day devoted largely to John Esten Cooke and Theodore
Winthrop, Simms bulks large in Wade's note-taking:
Like Cooper and Simms only he has a certain high spirited
gentility & patritianship, (almost coxcombery) and youthfulness &
gaiety unknown to Simms & Cooper. Cook [sic] has not Coopers
dogmatism, Hawthorne's religiosity, nor Simms's savagery &
brutality. Cooke all through Civil War. Lives Stonewall Jackson
& Lee,-and after war took up fiction. Surrey of Eagles Nest fine
picture civil war in Va as Simms's are of Rev. in S.C. Sometimes
he fails in effort to transplant heroic tradition of Rev. to the
contemporary events of War 1860-65. He had grown up as
novelist with heroic manner and always felt compelled to continue
This discussion of Cooke concludes with "See Wm Garrett Brown The Lower
South. On 27 March, of Theodore Winthrop, Wade says, "He treated of the
future where Simms had treated the Past." On 17 April, Wade writes of " Flyting
on American Frontier (Homer, Virgil, Beowulf)," saying flyting—an ancient
tradition of verbal combat otherwise known as "bully bragging" is seen, e.g.,
" [i]n ABL[ongstreet], Simms, Mark Twain."
Here is kinship of American frontier with heroic times. Mark
Twain, different from Cooper & to less extent Simms, was a part
of the things he talked about. Huck Finn probably his best work,
being more clearly unified than Tom Sawyer. T.S. true to old