A collection of reviews and essays that reveal the regional, national, and international dimensions of Simms's intellectual interests
During William Gilmore Simms's life (1806–1870), book reviews and critical essays became vital parts of American literary culture and intellectual discourse. Simms was an assiduous reviewer and essayist, proving by example the importance of those genres. William Gilmore Simms's Selected Reviews on Literature and Civilization publishes for the first time in book form sixty-two examples of the writer's hundreds of newspaper and periodical reviews and book notes as well as four important critical essays. Together the reviews and essays reveal the regional, national, and international dimensions of Simms's intellectual interests.
To frame the two distinct parts of the books, James Everett Kibler, Jr., and David Moltke-Hansen have written a general introduction that considers the development of book reviewing and the authorship of essays in cultural and historical contexts. In part 1, Kibler offers an introduction that examines Simms's reviewing habits and the aesthetic and critical values that informed the author's reviews. Kibler then publishes selected texts of reviews and provides historical and cultural backgrounds for each selection. Simms was an early proponent of the critical theories of Romantics such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Edgar Allan Poe. Widely read in European history and literature, he reviewed works published in French and German and classics in the original Greek and Latin and in translation. Simms also was an early, ardent advocate of works of local color and of Southern "backwoods" humorists of his day. Simms published notices of seven of Herman Melville's novels, the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and favorably reviewed Henry David Thoreau's Walden; or, Life in the Woods.
Simms published numerous review essays of twenty thousand or more words in literary journals and also republished two collections in book form. These volumes treated such subjects as Americanism in literature and the American Revolution in South Carolina. Yet, as part 2 of Selected Reviews demonstrates, Simms ranged much more widely in the intellectual milieu. Such cultural and political topics as the 1848 revolution in France, the history of the literary essay, the roles of women in the American Revolution, and the activities of the 1850 Southern convention in Nashville captured Simms's attention. Moltke-Hansen's introduction to part 2 examines Simms's roles in, and responses to, the Romantic critical revolution and the other events then roiling Europe and America.
Selected Poems of William Gilmore Simms: Twentieth Anniversary Edition, also published by the University of South Carolina Press. His edition of Simms's Woodcraft is forthcoming. He is the founding editor of the Simms Review, now in its twentieth year. Kibler is also the author of four works of fiction, a collection of poetry, and Our Fathers' Fields: A Southern Story, published by the University of South Carolina Press and for which he was awarded the prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction.
, has published or edited six volumes on Simms, the most recent of which is
History and Women, Culture and Faith: Selected Writings of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese Volume 3—Intersections: History, Culture, Ideology and William Gilmore Simms's Unfinished Civil War: Consequences for a Southern Man of Letters, published by the University of South Carolina Press. is the former head of the South Carolina Historical Society, the Southern Historical Collection, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and he served as the founding director of the digital William Gilmore Simms Initiatives of the University of South Carolina. Moltke-Hansen has edited