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Honorable and Brilliant Labors

Orations of William Gilmore Simms

edited by John D. Miller



Published: Jun 13 2024


Published: Jun 13 2024

OA Ebook
Published: Jun 13 2024


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of University of South Carolina Libraries

A primary source collection that offers a window into the mind of nineteenth-century author and public intellectual, William Gilmore Simms.

William Gilmore Simms was in his lifetime considered the South's preeminent man of letters, and Edgar Allan Poe once claimed that Simms was "immeasurably the greatest writer of fiction in America." Best known as a poet, novelist, and editor, Simms was also a public intellectual who intended that his work shape public opinion and public discourse. In Honorable and Brilliant Labors, editor John D. Miller collects Simms's public orations, a body of literature that ranks among the least studied of Simms's writing. The orations are divided into four thematic parts, each with its own introduction, that frames the orations in their historical and cultural context. As a collection, these pieces reveal the voice of a literary artist attempting to define and make sense of his own society. Honorable and Brilliant Labors is the final volume of the Simms Initiatives, a collaboration between USC Press and USC Libraries that spans more than a decade of publishing and includes six scholarly volumes and more than sixty reprint editions.

John D. Miller is associate professor of English at Longwood University in Virginia.

"Perhaps surprisingly, the Old South's most prolific and famous author was also a highly sought after and respected speaker. Ably edited, this new collection of Simms's orations, together with invaluable introductions by David Moltke-Hansen and John D. Miller, illuminates the rich intellectual life of the mid-nineteenth-century South."—Jonathan Daniel Wells, professor of history, University of Michigan, and author of The Kidnapping Club (2020)

"With a keen appreciation of both historical and literary context, John D. Miller has collected and introduced the major speeches of William Gilmore Simms, making a significant contribution to the study of Simms and the Old South."—Adam L. Tate, professor of history, Clayton State University

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