Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 13: No 1) >> Three Areytos Presentation Copies >> Page 1

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Secondary Scholarship | 2005
Transcription Three Areytos Presentation Copies

James Everett Kibler

In the summer of 1860, Simms traveled to New York to see his last
collection of poems through the press. Simms had to pay Redfield for the
stereotyping because he could find no publisher, at least partly the result of recenT
attacks by the Northern press and the heightened animosity between North and
South. In November 1860, Simms explained that Redfield was to issue the book
under the imprint of John Russell, the Charleston bookseller, but would not
publish any for himself. Simms wrote: "What a commentary upon the way I am
treated by all these men that after the book is stereotyped, there is no publisher
among them" (Letters, IV, 261). He paid for the stereotyping out of the over six
hundred dollars Redfield owed him in back royalties. "Between these men," he
wrote, "I lose everything" (Letters, IV, 269).
Simms asked for one hundred copies to be printed for John Russell and
fifty for himself on 22 November 1860 (Letters, IV, 273). The volume bearing the
Russell imprint was advertised for sale in the Charleston Courier of 14 December
1860. In March 1861, Simms wrote that copies of Areytos in Redfield's hands
were said to be destroyed by fire. "Are you sure the books were burned?" he
asked his agent (Letters, IV, 350).
The whole affair is revelatory of how Northern business took advantage of
Southerners in a difficult situation. Simms was still asking Redfield for the
stereotyped plates for which he'd paid, a few months before his death. He never
got them.
In publishing Areytos, Simms said from the start that his object was to "get
the book on record" (Letters, IV, 187, 308). He did so by placing copies in certain
hands as gifts.