Long considered a leading literary figure of the Old South, William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870) wrote letters, novels, short fiction, drama, essays, and poetry in his prolific career. Born in Charleston to an old South Carolina family of modest means and raised by a grandmother with whom his father left him after his mother's death, Simms felt a simultaneous sense of loyalty to and alienation from his native region. He was a major intellectual figure on the East Coast before the Civil War but saw his New York publishers abandon him after secession, of which he was a vocal supporter.
Simms's novels and poetry have been published in modern editions, and he has been the subject of numerous biographies and critical studies, but until now there has been no collection covering the broad spectrum of his writings. The Simms Reader presents a selection of his nonnovelistic work--letters, short fiction, essays, historical writings, poetry, and epigrams--chosen and introduced by the preeminent Simms scholar John Caldwell Guilds.