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William Gilmore Simms’s (1806–1870) body of work, which provides a sweeping fictional portrait of the colonial and antebellum South in all its regional diversity, complete with its literary and intellectual issues, is probably more comprehensive than that of any other nineteenth-century southern author. By the mid–1840s his novels were so famous that Edgar Allan Poe wrote that Simms was “the best novelist which this country has, on the whole, produced.” Simms wrote eight novels that were set in his home state of South Carolina during the Revolutionary War, and Eutaw, the sixth, was published in 1856, the same year Simms had a disastrous lecture tour in the North, in which he voiced strong pro–South Carolina and pro-Southern views.


Eutaw was a sequel to his very successful 1855 novel, The Forayers, and thus completed the most comprehensive saga of the war in our literary history. It focuses on the battle of Eutaw Springs in 1781, which ended British domination of South Carolina. Prominent in this significant battle were Nathanael Greene, Light-Horse Harry Lee, and Francis Marion, about whom Simms would later write a biography. 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.

David W. Newton is a noted Simms scholar and a professor of English at the University of West Georgia.

The University of Arkansas Press edition of the Selected Fiction of William Gilmore Simms has as its aim to publish the major novels and short fiction in reliable texts, together with scholarly introductions, annotations, and other matter useful to scholars, critics, and teachers of Simms’s work. Though not full-dress editions in the strictest sense, the volumes of the Arkansas Simms follow the conventions of scholarly editing by reprinting the last edition revised by Simms during his lifetime. Orthography, capitalization, and word division follow nineteenth-century practices, with no effort to modernize spelling or punctuation. Earlier volumes in the series have included both an introduction by Professor John C. Guilds, now the general editor emeritus, and a historical note and afterword by the editor of that particular volume. In the recent volumes the introduction, historical note, and afterword will be combined into a single introduction prepared by the volume editor.