Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 11: No 1) >> Introduction >> [Page 2]

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Secondary Scholarship | 2003
Transcription INTRODUCTION


SIMMS PUBLISHED "CHRONICLES OF ASHLEY RIVER" IN SIX PARTS IN
THE SOUTHERN LITERARY GAZETTE FROM 15 JULY TO 1 NOVEMBER 1829,
AS FOLLOWS:
NUMBER 1, 15 JULY 1629, PP. 115-116
NUMBER 2, 1 AUGUST 1829, PP. 129-130
NUMBER S, 1 SEPTEMBER 1829, PP. 176-178
NUMBER 4, 15 SEPTEMBER 1829, PP. 206-210
NUMBER 5, 15 OCTOBER 1829, PP. 247-252
NUMBER 6, 1 NOVEMBER 1829, PP. 278-260.

SET IN THE NEW COLONY OF SOUTH CAROLINA IN THE 1670S, THE DIRE
EVENTS DESCRIBED HERE PRECIPITATE THE MOVING OF THE ENGLISH
SETTLEMENT FROM "OLD TOWN"' TO "`NEW TOWN"--TIE OYSTER POINT
VILLAGE ON THE TIP OF LAND AT THE CONFLUENCE OF THE ASHLEY AND
COOPER RIVERS. THE "NEW TOWN" SETTLEMENT WAS LATER TO BECOME
CHARLES TOWN, THEN CHARLESTON.
"CHRONICLES OF ASHLEY RIVER" WAS A SIGNIFICANT EARLY WORK
FOR SIMMS, WHO WAS CURRENTLY A TWENTY-THREE YEAR-OLD LAWYER.
HERE, FOR THE FIRST TIME, HE WAS EXPLORING LOCAL COLONIAL HISTORY
FOR THE PURPOSES OF FICTION. HE REUSED A GOODLY PORTION OF THE
MATERIAL IN "CHRONICLES" FOR HIS FIRST COLONIAL ROMANCE,
THE YEMASSEE, PUBLISHED IN 1835 SIX YEARS LATER.
THE INDIAN CHIEF REDFOOT'S SIEGE ON THE SQUARE-HEWN LOG
TAVERN IN NUMBERS 4 AND 5 BECAME THE BASIS FOR THE YEMASSEE
SIEGE ON THE LOG BLOCKHOUSE IN THE NOVEL. THE GRAPHIC DETAILS
OF THE BREAKING OF A MAN'S ARM ON THE WINDOW LEDGE WERE
INCORPORATED INTO THE NOVEL. THE HARSH REALISM OF THE. DESCRIPTION
IN THIS SCENE IS OFTEN SINGLED OUT FOR DESERVED PRAISE AS AN EARLY
INSTANCE OF GRITTY AND MEMORABLE REALISM IN AMERICAN LITERATURE.
THAT THE GENESIS OF THIS SCENE ACTUALLY OCCURRED SIX YEARS
EARLIER IN 1829, MAKES THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SIMMS'S ACCOMPLISHMENT