About this book
William 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.
This 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.
“All 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.”
—Noel Polk, editor, The Mississippi Quarterly
About the editor
John Caldwell Guilds, retired distinguished professor in humanities at the University of Arkansas is the series editor for the Arkansas Edition of Simms’s works.
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.