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Carl Van Doren (1885–1950).  The American Novel.  1921.


Page 61

comedy and violent melodrama with sharp eyes. But the border—the matter of the Frontier—was not Simms’s first love as it had been Cooper’s, and the inalienable Carolinian went back, against his father’s advice, to the traditions and dreams of Charleston. There he was admitted to the bar, and there he published the first of his many volumes of verse.
  It is unnecessary to say more of the miscellaneous literary tasks of Simms than that, somewhat after the fashion of Sir Walter Scott on a smaller scale, he wrote moderate poetry to the end of his life, including three verse tragedies; that he edited the apocryphal plays of Shakespeare; that he produced popular histories of South Carolina and popular biographies of Francis Marion, Captain John Smith, the Chevalier Bayard, and Nathanael Greene; and that he kept up a ceaseless flood of contributions to periodicals. His range of interest and information was large, but he commonly dealt with American, and particularly Southern, affairs. His really significant work, as a romancer, he began in 1833 with a Godwinian tale of crime, Martin Faber, which was so well received that he followed it in 1834 with Guy Rivers and in 1835 with The Yemassee, two romances in which almost the full extent of his powers was thus early displayed. Guy Rivers, thoroughly conventional as regards the love affair which makes a part of the plot, is a tale of deadly strife between the laws of Georgia and a fiendish border bandit. A born story-teller, like Cooper, Simms was as casual as Cooper in regard to structure and less careful in regard to style, but he was too rapid to be dull and he revealed to Americans a new section of their adventurous



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