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“S is for Simms, William Gilmore

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  “S is for Simms, William Gilmore [1806-1870]. Poet, historian, novelist. Lacking much formal education Simms was a voracious reader and an acute observer. From his reading and his travel he absorbed history as well as local legends and acquired material for the volumes he would later write. After the death of his wife in1832, he travelled to New York where he became acquainted with the city’s literati. Returning to Charleston, he was determined to make his living as a writer. Simms believed that “to be national in literature, one must needs be sectional.” His principal contributions to a broader understanding of South Carolina may be found in his poetry, his history, his biographies, and perhaps most notable in his fiction. In fiction, William Gilmore Simms was a master of the “romance,” which he likened most to epic poetry.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.