Sea-Gift, an 1873 novel by Edwin Wiley Fuller  (1848-76) of Louisburg, presented a lively and romantic picture of student life in Chapel Hill. Autobiographical in some respects, it describes the youth of one John Smith, his career at the University of North Carolina , and his participation in the Civil War . The book contains detailed descriptions of the hazing of freshmen and other aspects of student life and was the first novel set in part in Chapel Hill. It contains a tall tale-telling contest, including a definition of the tall tale presented over 30 years before Mark Twain's essay on the same subject. The plot incorporates the university's "Dromgoole myth," concerning a famous duel  fought near Piney Prospect in Chapel Hill. The book came to be known as the "Freshman's Bible" in the late nineteenth century and probably had a bearing on the formation of the Order of the Gimghoul at the university and the construction there of Gimghoul Castle . Elements of the plot of Sea-Gift involving a long train ride to enter college also may have influenced Thomas Wolfe  in the writing of his novel, Look Homeward, Angel (1929), and a scene involving the burning of a plantation house is thought to have been a model for Margaret Mitchell in the writing of Gone with the Wind (1936).
E. T. Malone Jr., "The University of North Carolina in Edwin Fuller's 1873 novel, Sea-Gift " (M.A. thesis, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1975).
"Edwin Wiley Fuller." North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program. http://www.ncmarkers.com/Markers.aspx?ct=ddl&sp=search&k=Markers&sv=E-77  (accessed June 20, 2012).
"Edwin W. Fuller Sea-Gift Manuscript Fragment, 1873, 01027-z." The Southern Historical Collection. The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/f/Fuller,Edwin_W.html .
Fuller, Edwin W. Notebook of Edwin Wiley Fuller; Containing Previously Unpublished Poems. Louisburg, N.C.: Louisburg Printing. 1979.
Title page of Sea-Gift by Edwin W. Fuller, 1873. Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/fuller/ .
1 January 2006 | Malone, E. T., Jr.