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 Allen 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.