Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 16: No 2) >> Treating ''The Lying Camp'': Simms & Turgenev >> Page 5

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Page 5

Secondary Scholarship | 2008
Transcription humorous effect: "I must liqour now!"; "It's sich a ricollection, Jedge, that I must rest
and liquor"; "I must liqour, Jedge". There are two narrators in Simms's short story but
their "interconnections" are fairly more complicated than in Turgenev's text. As a
matter of fact Simms created the illusion that the story was told by Sharp Snaffles. In
fact the tall tale was told by Jedge who just adopted Sharp's language "as closely as
posssible" and from time to time made remarks in the text: "Here Yaou paused to renew
his draught of peach and honey"; "Yaou, after a great swallow of peach and honey, and
a formidable groan after it, resumed his narrative as follows; "The "Big Lie" roared
aloud". So Jedge is playing in the text at least three roles: at the begining of the story he
is the interlocuter, and afterwards he combined the roles of the narrator and the listener.
- Both Simms and Turgenev used dialect: in "Sharp Snaffles" it was the dialect of
American frontiersmen of the XIXth century, in "Bezhin meadow"– the dialect of
Russian peasantry of the same historical time. Moreover .both writers based the fantastic
level of their stories on folklore material. However, the ways of inserting folklore
elements in the texts by Simms and Turgenev were different: the Russian writer just
presented the folklore stories, while Simms carried out original experiments with the
text forms developing such folklore genres as tall tale and anecdote.
As we can judge, Simms in America and Turgenev. in Russia treated the same
subject motif of "the lying camp" though quite differently. It is known that Turgenev's
A Hunter's Sketches were translated into English by James D. Meiklejohn under the title
Russian Life in the Interior, or the Experiences of a Sportsman and published in
Edinburgh in 1855. Don't you think there might be found in Simms's text a sort of
polemics with his famous Russian contemporary? Nowadays we may 'only guess about
it.

P. S: It is noteworthy that in the second half of the XIXth century the well-known
Russian artist Vasiliy. Grigorievich Perov (1833 – 1882) created one of his famous
paintings,`The hunters on the bivouac" ("Okhotniki na privale"), 1871, at almost the
same historical time as "Sharp Snaffles". This Russian painting (as you can see) also
contains the subject motif of "the lying camp"— Vasiliy Perov depicted a group of
hunters narrating tall tales with the genre's compulsory exaggeration. To some. extent
the Russian painting version of "the lying camp" could be regarded as an
"illustration" to Turgenev's and Simms's short stories.