William Gilmore Simms (April 17, 1806 - June 11, 1870)
Born: 17th April, 1806
Died: 11th June, 1870
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Novelist
Region: Charleston, South Carolina
Notable works: "The Sunshine Boys"

William Gilmore Simms Facts


William Gilmore Simms, (born April 17, 1806, Charleston, S.C., U.S.--died June 11, 1870, Charleston), outstanding Southern novelist.

Motherless at two, Simms was reared by his grandmother while his father fought in the Creek wars and under Jackson at New Orleans in 1814. Simms lived a vicariously adventurous childhood through his father, while absorbing history through his storytelling grandmother who had lived through the Revolution. After attending public schools for four years, when he entered the College of Charleston at 10, he knew enough French, Latin, German, and Spanish to dabble in translations. At 12 he completed the study of materia medica, and left college to become a druggist's apprentice. He began publishing poetry in Charleston papers at 16. Soon thereafter he joined his itinerant father in the Mississippi frontier country, meeting the people and seeing the life of which he later wrote. He edited a magazine and published a volume of poetry at 19, married at 20, and was admitted to the bar at 21.

Simms was a prodigious worker, whether at Woodlands Plantation in winter, Charleston in summer, or on yearly publishing trips north. As state legislator and magazine and newspaper editor, he became embroiled in political and literary quarrels. From Charleston and the South he nevertheless received lifelong praise approaching adulation; from the North, wide audience and eminent literary friendships despite his strong defense of slavery. Though his life was shadowed by defeat of the Confederacy, the death of his second wife, poverty, and the destruction of his home and library during the passage of Sherman's army, his letters attest a figure long underestimated by literary historians. Although not born into the social and literary circles of Charleston, he was eventually made a member of the city's most select group, the St. Cecilia Society.

Simms has been criticized for writing too much, too carelessly, and with too frequent use of stock devices; he was at his best the master of a racy and masculine English prose style and in dealing humorously with rowdy frontier characters. His gift as a teller of tales in the oral tradition and the antiquarian care he took in preparing historical materials are dominant features of such works as Pelayo (1838), in an 8th-century setting; Vasconselos (1853), 16th century; The Yemassee (1835; his most successful work in audience appeal), colonial; the revolutionary series--The Partisan (1835), Mellichampe (1836), The Kinsmen (1841), Katherine Walton (1851), Woodcraft (1854), The Forayers (1855), Eutaw (1856), Joscelyn (1867); his best border romances--Richard Hurdis (1838) and Border Beagles (1840); his short-story collection The Wigwam and the Cabin (1845); and his History of South Carolina (1840). Of 19 volumes of poetry, the collected Poems (1853) deserve mention. Most popular of his biographies were The Life of Francis Marion (1844) and The Life of Chevalier Bayard (1847). His literary criticism is represented in Views and Reviews of American Literature (1845).

Top 12 William Gilmore Simms quotes

He who would acquire fame must not show himself afraid of censure. The dread of censure is the death of genius.
Neither praise or blame is the object of true criticism. Justly to discriminate, firmly to establish, wisely to prescribe, and honestly to award. These are the true aims and duties of criticism.
The dread of criticism is the death of genius.
The only true source of politeness is consideration.
Tact is one of the first mental virtues, the absence of it is fatal to the best talent.
Tears are the natural penalties of pleasure. It is a law that we should pay for all that we enjoy.
The true law of the race is progress and development. Whenever civilization pauses in the march of conquest, it is overthrown by the barbarian.
I believe that economists put decimal points in their forecasts to show they have a sense of humor.
I believe
I believe that
Sense of humor
No errors of opinion can possibly be dangerous in a country where opinion is left free to grapple with them.
Not in sorrow freely is never to open the bosom to the sweets of the sunshine.
Most men remember obligations, but are not often likely to be grateful; the proud are made sour by the remembrance and the vain silent.
Be grateful
Genius is the very eye of intellect and the wing of thought; it is always in advance of its time, and is the pioneer for the generation which it precedes.

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