Experiments in Realism: Doubling in Simms's The Cassique of Kiawah by Kevin Collins "Nobody invented realism; it came." --William Dean Howells, "European Masters: Armando Palacio Valdés" The critical debate regarding whether William Gilmore Simms is primarily a romanticist or a realist rages across generations and is ably summarized by John Caldwell Guilds in his biography, Simms: A Literary Life. With ample quotations from Simms to bolster arguments made by both sides, Guilds presents the views of William Peterfield Trent, "who believed that Simms's best work followed the romantic traditions of Scott and Cooper" (338339), and Vernon L. Parrington "who insisted that Simms was at his best . . . [when] depicting life as it really was, not as it should be" (339). While Guilds concludes that "the crux is that Simms the writer defies classification" (340), the fact is that critics will continue in their attempts to classify him, and that these attempts will likely always say more about the critics and their proclivities than they will about Simms and his. A particular chronological aspect of the realist/romanticist dichotomy, though, is demonstrable: Simms relied far more heavily on romantic convention early in his career that he did later
The Southern Literary Journal – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jan 6, 2002
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