Martin Faber: The Story of a CriminalWilliam Gilmore Simms, Edited by John Caldwell Guilds
By William Gilmore Simms
Edited by John Caldwell Guilds
University of Arkansas Press
William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870) is one of the nation’s great Southern writers. His work includes short stories, novels, poetry and historical pieces. The publication of Martin Faber was the beginning of Simms’ journey to become "the best novelist which this country has, on the whole, produced," to quote Edgar Allan Poe.
In the gothic tale Martin Faber: The Story of a Criminal, Simms takes his readers through the dark and twisted mind of an unstable psychopath who from an early age has been living with an inner demon inside himself. Martin Faber unleashed his dark side when he murdered his young girlfriend Emily, in order to marry another woman. Martin later revealed his horrific crime to his best friend, who in the end turned him in by uncovering Emily’s buried body for the whole town to see. Martin Faber was executed shortly after he attempted to stab his wife Constance while he was in jail. This short novel, which was published in 1833, is considered an examination of criminal psychology and caused Simms to become known to a national audience. This edition of Martin Faber: The Story of a Criminal was edited by professor emeritus John Caldwell Guilds.