Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 16: No 2) >> Treating ''The Lying Camp'': Simms & Turgenev >> Page 4

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Secondary Scholarship | 2008
Transcription author: Jim Fisher, evidently the patriarch of the professionals, "was seventy years old,
and a veteran hunter, the most famous in all the country"; Columbus Mills "a wealthy
mountaineer, of large estates", Jedge who had received his "nom de guerre" for
"venerable aspect" and, of course, Sam Snaffles who "from his special smartness, had
obtained the farther sobriquet of `Sharp Snaffles'.
It should be noted that Turgenev in his short story widely used the description of
landscape as a device for creating special romantic atmosphere of "mysterious majesty"
of summer night with its faint fairy sounds emphasizing the frightening effect of the
boys' stories. As a sample the following extract can be cited: "Suddenly from out of the
distance came a prolonged, resonant, almost wailing sound, one of those inexplicable
sounds of the night, which break upon a profound stillness, rise upon the air, linger and
slowly die away at last.,You listen: it is as-though there nothing yet echoes still. It is as
though someone had uttered a long, long cry upon the very horizon, as though some
other had answered him with harsh laughter in the forest,and, in faint, hoarse hissing .
over the river" (All cites made from "A Sportsman's Sketches ", translated by Constance
Garnett, London, Heinemann, 1897, Turgenev's Novels, v.8-9).
The border between the real life and fantastic irrational world of imaginative
storiesis. composed by the intricate combination of light and .dark contrast: "It was a
marvellous picture; about the fire a red ring of light quivered and seemed to swoon
away in the embrace of a background of darkness; the flame flaring up from time to
time cast swift flashes of light beyond the boundary of this circle; a fine tongue of light
licked the dry twigs and died away at once; long thin shadows, in their turn breaking in
for an instant, danced right up to the very fires; darkness was struggling with light".
Simms also used the device of the border` mingling of real and irrational worlds
though in the other quite original way. He "shaded" Sharp's fantastic story by the
hero's numerous appeals to Jedge: "You see then, Jedge"; "Well, Jedge"; "I tell you,
Jedge" (All cites made from Simms W. G. How Sharp Snaffles Got His Capital- and
Wife /Tales of the South /Ed by M A. Wimsatt - Columbia: University of South
Carolina Press, 1996). Thus Simms repeatedly returned the reader to the starting point
of narration – the camp of hunters, with its "realistic" atmosphere: So the replies of
Sharp pierced "fantastic space" connecting "real" and "unreal" levels of the text. While
Turgenev for stressing the acuteness of certain moments in his short story abundantly
introduced- night sounds and shades into narration, Simms increased the frequency of
using Sharp's appeals to Jedge. On page 260 in "How Sharp Snaffles Got His Capital
and Wife", published in Tales of the South /Ed. by M. A.Wimsatt. - Columbia:
University of South Carolina ,Press, 1996, there could be found nine appeals of Sharp to
Jedge. As we suggest, the author in such a way pointed out the culmination of the
narration.
Let us also pay attention to the so called system of "narrative voices" used by the
authors., In cases with both "Sharp Snaffles" and "Bezhin meadow" the reseachers deal
with original writers' experiments as far as the formal level of the stories is concerned.
Both authors artistically orchestrate the voices of narrators, masterly alternate the
remarks of listeners, composing the special rhythm of prose, skillfully use rhythmical
interchanges of pauses in the texts, which marked certain phases of narrations. There is
one narrator - the hunter - and five interlocutors - the boys, who tell their stories, - in
the Russian version. Turgenev held the replacement of his storytellers with the help of a
particular reiterated pause forming a sort of a "refrain": "All were silent for a little";
"after a brief silent"; "all were silent", "all were still again". Simms also used a kind of
a pause-refrain in "Sharp Snaffles", though in his case this literary device produced


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