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Outlines of English and American Literature
Southern Writers
by Long, William J.


In the South was another group of young writers, quite as able and enthusiastic as their northern contemporaries. Among these we note especially William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870), whose Yemassee, Border Beagles, Katherine Walton and many other historical romances of Colonial and Revolutionary days were of more than passing interest. He was a high-minded and most industrious writer, who produced over forty volumes of poems, essays, biographies, histories and tales; but he is now remembered chiefly by his novels, which won him the title of "the Cooper of the South." At least one of his historical romances should be read, partly for its own sake and partly for a comparison with Cooper's work in the same field. Thus The Yemassee (1835), dealing with frontier life and Indian warfare, may be read in connection with Cooper's The Deerslayer (1841), which has the same general theme; or The Partisan (1835), dealing with the bitter struggle of southern Whigs and Tories during the Revolution, may well be compared with Cooper's The Spy (1821), which depicts the same struggle in a northern environment.

Other notable writers of the South during this period were Richard Henry Wilde the poet, now remembered by the song (from an unfinished opera) beginning, "My life is like the summer rose"; William Wirt, the essayist and biographer; and John Pendleton Kennedy, writer of essays and stories which contain many charming pictures of social life in Virginia and Maryland in the days "before the war."

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