Edgar Allan Poe viewed William Gilmore Simms "in invention, in vigor, in movement, in the power of exciting interest, and in the artistical arrangement of his themes," as surpassing "any of his countrymen." After the Civil War, long years of neglect tarnished Simms's reputation as "the central figure in the literature of the Old South," as Jay B. Hubbell described him. However, as John Caldwell Guilds fully demonstrates here, the magnitude of Simms's achievement cannot be denied. Simms produced seventy-two book-length works, including novels, short story collections, poetry, drama, literary criticism, essays, history and biography, encompassing ante-colonial America, the English colonies, the Revolutionary War, and the rampaging frontier. In the first full-length biography since 1892, Guilds restores Simms to his proper place as a major figure in American letters and reintroduces the reading public to this at once endearing and insufferable man, a husband, father, planter, and author.