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William Gilmore Simms's Unfinished Civil War
Consequences for a Southern Man of Letters

Edited by David Moltke-Hansen

A collection of essays exploring the effects of the Civil War on writer and patriot, William Gilmore Simms

William Gilmore Simms's Unfinished Civil War measures the effects of the Civil War and its aftermath on one of the Old South's foremost intellectuals. Simms's mid-nineteenth-century poems, novels, and essays and the personal and societal trauma and destruction Simms
experienced are all portrayed here.

Before the war Simms was the most articulate advocate of Southern nationalism. During the war he became a prophetic critic of Confederate policy and poet of cultural ethnogenesis. The defeat of the Confederacy in 1865 shattered Simms's understanding of the working of history and called into question his sense of a moral providence.

This collection of essays by historians and literary scholars first explores William Gilmore Simms's antebellum treatment of the role of warfare in America's past and the South's future. The contributors then consider the impact of the secession crisis, the Civil War, and the Confederate defeat on Simms's and other white and black Southerners' perceptions of their much-changed world. Next Simms's life, published writings, and thoughts during the war and its aftermath are examined. Finally Simms's late poetry and fictions, especially explicit and implicit commentaries on the postwar South, are analyzed. His last oration, The Sense of the Beautiful, published shortly before his death in 1870, is the subject of several essays.

William Gilmore Simms's Unfinished Civil War reconstructs from both published writings and
private letters the conscious and unconscious effects of the Civil War upon the writer and
Southern patriot. Drawing on the fields of history, literature, and even archaeology, this
interdisciplinary volume demonstrates that the anticipation, course, and consequences of the
war were central in shaping Simms's writings from the 1840s to 1870.

Former head of the South Carolina Historical Society, the Southern Historical Collection, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, David Moltke-Hansen served as the founding director of the digital William Gilmore Simms Initiatives of the University of South Carolina.



William Gilmore Simms’s Unfinished Civil War



6 x 9
288 pages
6 b&w illus.
ISBN 978-1-61117-130-3
hardcover, $29.95s

William Gilmore Simms Initiatives: Texts and Studies
Matthew C. Brennan
Kevin Collins
Ehren Foley
Sara Georgini
Todd Hagstette
Keri Holt
James Everett Kibler
Nicholas G. Meriwether
John D. Miller
David Moltke-Hansen
Jeffery J. Rogers
David S. Shields
Johanna Shields
Steven D. Smith

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