Southern Model for the West
In the next phase of his career, Simms participated intensely in the fascination with the West. Writers in all parts of the nation were vitally interested in what form the new society of that section would take. He joined such investigators as Caroline Kirkland, who recounted the recent settlement of Michigan in A New Home ( 1839). Simms's next appraisal of Western life would be much broader and deeper than what he had begun in Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia ( 1834), his first novel of frontier crime. The new land offered the opportunity for a better life, but how was that to be achieved given the many daunting obstacles? He contributed his thinking on the question in Richard Hurdis ( 1838), Border Beagles ( 1840), Confession ( 1841), and Beauchampe ( 1842), classified as "Border Romances" because they all deal with life on the frontier. 1
Simms identified himself once more as a nationalist by taking for his next subject the nation's Western expansion. Reflections of sectional conflict make occasional appearances, but they remain tangential to the major purpose. In these romances of the Western frontier, Simms was primarily concerned with the formation of a worthy society in the Southwest. It would, he hoped, be an improvement on the older Atlantic South, Simms's own homeland.
The South had begun the settlement of the West in the late eighteenth century as men like Daniel Boone crossed the mountains into Kentucky. A political alliance between the South and the West, the foundation for the careers of leaders like Andrew Jackson and Thomas
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: From Nationalism to Secessionism:The Changing Fiction of William Gilmore Simms. Contributors: Charles S. Watson - Author, Jon L. Wakelyn - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 29.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.