The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

VII. Fiction II

§ 15. Simms’s Border Tales

In historical tales, not Cooper’s forte, Simms succeeded best; he was inferior when he dealt with the border. This may have been due partly to the intrinsic superiority of the earlier frontier to that which Simms had observed. At least it shows itself chiefly in the fact that Simms grew more melodramatic, as Cooper more poetic, the farther he ventured from regions of order and law. Richard Hurdis (1838), Border Beagles (1840), Beauchampe (1842), and Charlemont (1856) are amazingly sensational. Nor was Simms happy when he abandoned native for foreign history, as in Pelayo (1838), The Damsel of Darien (1839), Count Julian (1845), and Vasconselos (1854). Even more than Cooper, he lacked judgment as to the true province of his art; like Cooper, he constantly turned aside to put his pen to service in the distracted times through which he was fated to live.