The Story of a Criminal with “Confessions of a Murder”
Edited by John Caldwell Guilds
edition of the acclaimed Southern writer’s first novel
Gilmore Simms’s (1806–1870) body of work, a sweeping
fictional portrait of the colonial and antebellum South in
all its regional diversity, with its literary and intellectual
issues, is probably more comprehensive than any other nineteenth-century
southern author. Simms’s career began with a short novel,
Martin Faber, published in 1833.
Gothic tale is reminiscent of James Hogg’s Confessions
of a Sinner and was written four years before Edgar Allan
Poe’s “William Wilson.” Narrated in the
first person, it is considered a pioneering examination of
criminal psychology. Martin seduces then murders Emily so
that he might marry another woman, Constance. Martin confesses
to his friend and is killed after attempting to stab Constance
when she visits him in jail.
The book was immediately successful and was well received
by the northern media, thus starting Simms’s successful
career as a writer, one that would rank him as the only major
southern literary figure besides Poe before the Civil War.
As with other volumes in the Arkansas Edition of Simms’s
work, this volume includes a critical introduction by the
editor and a Simms chronology, as well as appendices dealing
with textual matters. This edition also includes Simms’s
1829 story, “Confessions of a Murderer,” which
was the germ for his first book of fiction.
students of Southern literature owe a huge debt to Jack Guilds
and the University of Arkansas Press for providing us with
the elegant and useful new editions of the work of William
Gilmore Simms. Martin Faber is a splendid addition
to the increasingly-available body of Simms's work.”
Polk, editor, The Mississippi Quarterly
Caldwell Guilds, retired distinguished professor
in humanities at the University of Arkansas is the series
editor for the Arkansas Edition of Simms’s works.
132 pages, 4 plates
6" x 9"
$34.95 (s) Paper