Tales of the South

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1996-04-01
  • Publisher: Univ of South Carolina Pr
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William Gilmore Simms - a nineteenth century American writer whose popularity once surpassed that of Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville received his greatest acclaim for such widely read novels as Guy Rivers, The Yemassee, and The Partisan. He also penned an assortment of short stories that, though less well known than his novels, are now regarded by an expanding circle of critics as his most impressive body of work. With Tales of the South, Mary Ann Wimsatt assembles a representative sampling of Simms's short fiction and restores these classic tales to their rightful place in America's literary canon. Deftly combining homespun realism with impressive flights of fantasy, these fourteen stories offer intimate views of nineteenth century work and domesticity while exploring the legends, superstitions, and folk experiences that circulated through all classes and races of antebellum society. Simms's sprightly, highly imaginative tales reflect his ties to British and American romanticism, his genius for tall-tale humor, and his keen interest in Native American culture. In introducing the stories, Wimsatt explores the various contexts - biographical, historical, economic, and literary - from which Simms's short fiction emerged. Beginning with his childhood in Charleston, South Carolina, she chronicles the events that shaped his writing and charts the changing literary fashions that have influenced critical responses to his work from the postbellum era until the late twentieth century. Wimsatt contends that, until recently, Simms's literary achievements have been eclipsed by his proslavery, secessionist stance, by ignorance of his principal genres, and by a general misunderstanding ofSouthern culture and literature. With Tales of the South, Wimsatt rescues the short stories of this major American writer from contemporary obscurity and assesses the current resurgence of interest in Simms and his literary achievements.

Table of Contents

Chronology of William Gilmore Simms's Life and Works
Introductionp. 1
A Note on the Textp. 17
Selected Bibliographyp. 19
The Fisherman - A Factp. 23
Juan Ponce de Leonp. 32
The Plank: A Story of the Seap. 43
Logoochie; or, The Branch of Sweet Water: A Legend of Georgiap. 58
Grayling; or, "Murder Will Out"p. 80
The Two Camps: A Legend of the Old North Statep. 110
The Last Wager; or, The Gamester of the Mississippip. 137
The Arm-Chair of Tustenuggee: A Tradition of the Catawbap. 175
Oakatibbee; or, The Choctaw Sampsonp. 197
Ephraim Bartlett, The Edisto Raftmanp. 225
How Sharp Snaffles Got His Capital and Wifep. 237
"Bald-Head Bill Bauldy," And How He Went Through the Flurriday Campaign! - A Legend of the Hunter's Campp. 280
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