Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 7: No 1) >> Notes & Queries and Simms Society News >> Page 30

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Page 30

Scholarship | 1999

It is indeed encouraging to hear that there are serious, good students of Simms in
the former Soviet Union. We encourage them all to become members of the
Simms Society and request that they will send us news items on the teaching of
Simms and Simms interest, scholarship, reputation, etc., in the former Soviet
Union. One question we already ask is how Russian students have learned about
Simms. We wonder if Simms is mentioned at Russian universities and in what
context. We wish to hear how he is regarded and why. These sorts of things, the
readers of The Simms Review would be fascinated in knowing. Russia is such an
exotic place for us, and our Society members will be so interested in hearing how
Simms made it there.
Here in the USA, outside a devoted (growing) small circle of Simms
scholars, Simms is considered nationwide as a kind of pariah, beneath the regard
of serious intelligentsia--and mainly because he was a slave owner and supported
devolution, secession, the right of a people to self-determination and freedom.
The leading academics here are very, very centralist in their thinking, and the
study of literature (even by literary scholars) is highly politicised. It is not easy
being a Simms scholar here . . . that is, if you want to be taken seriously. You are
often banished to a kind of gulag of the mind, a kind of intellectual Siberia. So
you can see that we Simms devotees across the water have many ideas to share.
Perhaps Simms will receive the fair treatment from the intelligentsia of foreign
lands that he has been denied in the USA.
We also encourage your submission of articles for consideration in The
Simms Review. Again, a hearty welcome with the warmest Southern hospitality.
Editor, The Simms Review
Athens, Georgia 22 January 1999