William Gilmore Simms as Literary Critic

William Gilmore Simms as Literary Critic

William Gilmore Simms as Literary Critic

William Gilmore Simms as Literary Critic

Excerpt

This monograph was originally intended to be a chapter in a book on ante-bellum Southern critics. But Simms wrote so much criticism which was interesting and excellent that it seemed wiser to attempt to survey this part of his work as completely as possible, rather than to compress the abun- dance of material into a workable chapter. Whenever possible, I have quoted directly from Simms, and have tried scrupu- lously to follow his punctuation and capitalization, his frequent use of italics for emphasis, and his spelling. For the sake of uniformity I have tried to conform in my own writing to his usage: since he spelled the name consistently Shakspeare, I have accepted his spelling, although at least twice, in quota- tions from other writers, I have used their spelling. I have attempted to avoid the necessary but somewhat loathsome sic, although on occasion it has been needed; but in such standard Nineteenth-Century spelling as etherial, and in punctuation, I have disregarded it.

I first became interested in Southern Literary Criticism in 1935, when Harry Hayden Clark suggested that in an antholo- gy, Southern Poets, I should treat the critical theories of South- ern poets, and include an appendix quoting the theories of vari- ous Southern poets. In no sense is Dr. Clark responsible for this monograph, but I am grateful to him for the encouragement that he has given to me. Perhaps I should mention that he has recently directed a dissertation on Simms as editor and critic by Edward T. Herbert; I have read it since my own work was practically finished, and found it sound enough, but I do not believe that it conflicts with what I have done.

This volume on Simms as critic is meant to be the first volume of a more elaborate study on ante-bellum Southern Critics. The typescript of the second volume (exclusive of Poe) has already been given to the publisher. I hope soon to complete the monograph on Poe as Critic, and thus complete this work.

In the preparation of the monograph on Simms as Critic, and even more on the entire project, I am indebted to many . . .

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