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James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper

Novelist and social critic James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) was the first major American writer to deal imaginatively with American life, notably in his five "Leather-Stocking Tales." He was also a critic of the political, social, and religious problems of the day.

James Cooper (his mother's family name of Fenimore was legally added in 1826) was born in Burlington, N.J., on Sept. 15, 1789, the eleventh of 12 children of William Cooper, a pioneering landowner and developer in New Jersey and New York. When James was 14 months old, his father moved the family to a vast tract of wilderness at the headwaters of the Susquehanna River in New York State where, on a system of small land grants, he had established the village of Cooperstown at the foot of Otsego Lake.

Here, in the "Manor House," later known as Otsego Hall, Cooper grew up, the privileged son of the "squire" of a primitive community. He enjoyed the amenities of a transplanted civilization while reading, in the writings of the wilderness missionary John Gottlieb Heckewelder, about the Native Americans who had long since retreated westward, and about life in the Old World in the novels of Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austen. Meanwhile, he attended the local school and Episcopal church. The lore of the wilderness learned from excursions into the surrounding forests and from local trappers and hunters, the stories of life in the great estates of neighboring Dutch patroons and English patentees, and the gossip of revolution-torn Europe brought by refugees of all classes furnished him with materials for his later novels, histories, and commentaries.

For the present, however, Cooper was a vigorous and obstreperous young man who was sent away to be educated, first by a clergyman in Albany, and then at Yale, from which he was dismissed for a student prank. His father next arranged for him to go to sea, first in a merchant vessel to England and Spain, and then in the Navy; these experiences stimulated at least a third of his later imaginative writing.

When Cooper returned to civilian life in 1811, he married Susan Augusta DeLancey of a formerly wealthy New York Tory family and established himself in Westchester County overlooking Long Island Sound, a gentleman farmer involved in the local militia, Agricultural Society, and Episcopal church. It was here, at the age of 30, that he published his first novel, written on a challenge from his wife.

First Period of His Literary Career

Precaution was an attempt to outdo the English domestic novels Cooper had been reading, which he imitated in choice of theme, scene, and manner. But he soon realized his mistake, and the next year, in The Spy, he deliberately attempted to correct it by choosing the American Revolution for subject, the country around New York City he knew so well for scene, and the historical romance of Scott for model. Thereafter, although many of his novels combined the novel of manners with the historical romance, as well as with other currently popular fictional modes, he never again departed from his concern for American facts and opinions, even though for some of his tales he chose, in the spirit of comparative analysis, scenes in foreign lands and waters.

All of the novels of the first period of Cooper's literary career (1820-1828) were as experimental as the first two. Three dealt with the frontier and Native American life (The Pioneers, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Prairie), three with the sea (The Pilot, The Red Rover, and The Water Witch), and three with American history (The Spy, Lionel Lincoln, and The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish).

Discovering the "American Problem"

The success of his first America-oriented novel convinced Cooper that he was on the right track, and he decided to turn to his childhood memories for a truthful, if not wholly literal, tale of life on the frontier: The Pioneers (1823). Judge Temple in the novel is Judge Cooper, and Templeton is Cooperstown; and originals for most of the characters can be identified, as can the scenes and much of the action, although all of it is given what Cooper called "a poetical view of the subject." Though the traditional novel of manners deals realistically with a group of people in a closed and stable community using an agreed-upon code of social ethics, Cooper tried to adapt this form to a fluid and open society, thereby illuminating the core of the "American problem": how could the original trio of "unalienable rights"—life, liberty, and property (not, as Jefferson had it, the pursuit of happiness)—be applied to a society in which the rights of the Native American possessors of the land were denied by the civilized conqueror who took it from them for his own profit, thus defying the basic Christian ethic of individual integrity and brotherly love?

Natty Bumppo (or Leather-Stocking as he is called in the series as a whole) is neither the "natural man" nor the "civilized man" of European theorists such as John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau; he is the American individualist who is creating a new society by a code of personal fulfillment under sound moral self-guidance, improvising as he goes along. In The Pioneers Natty is a somewhat crotchety old man whose chief "gift" is his ability to argue his rights with both Indian John and Judge Temple. The central theme which knits this complex web of people and adventures into the cycle of a single year is the emergence of Leather-Stocking as the "American hero."

At this point Cooper was feeling his way toward a definition of his social concern, but in the novel itself the problem is almost submerged in the excitement, action, and vivid description and narrative. In the next of the Leather-Stocking series, The Last of the Mohicans, Natty is younger and the romantic story line takes over, making it the most popular of all Cooper's novels. In The Prairie Natty in his last days becomes a tragic figure driven west, into the setting sun, in a futile search for his ideal way of life. To most of Cooper's readers these stories are pure romances of adventure, and their social significance is easily overlooked.

In The Pilot (1824) Cooper was drawn to the sea by what he felt was Scott's mishandling of the subject, and he thus discovered a whole second world in which to explore his moral problem. The American hero, John Paul Jones, like other patriots of the time, is in revolt against the authority of the English king, and yet, in his own empire of the ship, he is forced by the dangers of the elements to exert an even more arbitrary authority over his crew. There is a similar problem in The Red Rover, the story of a pirate with a Robin Hood complex, and in The Water-Witch, a tale of a gentleman-rogue, which is less successful because Cooper turned from the technique of straight romantic narrative to that of symbolism.

Cooper's two historical novels of the period (other than The Spy), Lionel Lincoln and The Wept of Wishton-Wish, are set in New England, where Cooper was never at home. The former, although thoroughly researched, is trivial, but in the latter, in spite of lack of sympathy, Cooper made a profound study of the conflict between Puritan morality and integrity and the savage ethic of the frontier.

Second Period

His reputation as a popular novelist established, Cooper went abroad in 1826 to arrange for the translation and foreign publication of his works and to give his family the advantages of European residence and travel. He stayed 7 years, during which he completed two more romances, but thereafter, until 1840, he devoted most of his energy to political and social criticism—both in fiction and in nonfiction. Irritated by the criticisms of English travelers in America, in 1828 he wrote a defense of American life and institutions in a mock travel book, Notions of the Americans Picked Up by a Travelling Bachelor.

Settling his children in a convent school in Paris, he traveled from London to Sorrento, Italy, and also stayed in Switzerland, Germany, France, and England. Europe was astir with reform and revolutionary movements, and the outspoken Cooper was drawn into close friendships with the Marquis de Lafayette and other liberal leaders. One product of this interest was a trio of novels on European political themes (The Bravo, The Heidenmauer, and The Headsman), but the American press was so hostile to them that Cooper finally declared, in his 1834 A Letter to His Countrymen, that he would write no more fiction.

This resolution, however, lasted only long enough to produce five volumes of epistolary travel essay and commentary on Europe (Gleanings in Europe and Sketches of Switzerland ); The Monikins, a Swiftean political allegory; and various works on the American Navy, including a definitive two-volume history, a volume of biographies of naval officers, and miscellaneous tracts.

In 1833 Cooper returned to America, renovated Otsego Hall in Cooperstown, and settled his family there for the rest of his life. There is much autobiography in the pair of novels Homeward Bound and Home as Found (1838), in which he reversed himself to attack the people and institutions of his own land with the same keen critical insight that he had applied to Europe. One reason for this was that a series of libel suits against Whig editors helped personalize his quarrel with the equalitarian and leveling tendencies of the Jacksonian era. He won the suits but lost many friends and much of his reading public. His social and political position is succinctly summed up in The American Democrat (1838).

Third Period

The third period of Cooper's literary career began in 1840-1841 with his return to the Leather-Stocking series and two more chapters in the life of Natty Bumppo, The Pathfinder, in which Cooper used his own experiences on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812, and The Deerslayer, which fills in the young manhood of his hero. These romances were followed by equally vigorous tales of the sea, The Two Admirals and Wing-and-Wing.

But the most significant development of this period was Cooper's final success in blending the romantic novel of action and the open spaces with the novel of manners and social concern. Returning for subject to the scenes of his first interest, the estates and villages of early upstate New York (with their mixed population of Dutch patroons, English patentees, small farmers and woodsmen, and variegated adventurers carving out civilization in a wilderness peopled by Native Americans and rife with unexploited wildlife of all kinds), he wrote five novels in two series: Afloat and Ashore (1844) and its sequel, Miles Wallingford, and the "Littlepage Manuscripts" (1845-1846), depicting in a trilogy (Satanstoe, The Chainbearer, and The Redskins) the four-generation history of a landed family from their first days of settlement to the days of the disintegration of their privileged way of life in the face of rampant, classless democracy. Largely unread and unappreciated in their day, these five novels, especially Satanstoe, have since become recognized as Cooper's most successful fulfillment of his intention. He had always wished to write a chronicle of his times in fictional form in order to interpret for his countrymen and the world at large the deeper meanings of the "American experiment" in its formative years.

Meanwhile, Cooper's concerns for individual and social integrity and for change had hardened into moral and religious absolutes, and the novels of his last 4 years were less story and more allegory. The best of these, The Crater (1847), succeeds where The Water-Witch and The Monikins failed, in using symbolism to convey a narrative message.

Cooper's Achievement

The power and persistence of this first major American author in attempting a total imaginative redaction of American life, coupled with an equal skill in the description of place and the depiction of action, overcame the liabilities of both the heavy romantic style current in his day and his substitution of the character type for the individual character. Appreciated first in Europe, the most action-packed of his novels survived the eclipse of his reputation as a serious literary artist (brought about through attacks on his stormy personality and unpopular social ideas) and have led to a restudy of the whole of his work in recent years. In this process Cooper has been restored to his rightful place as the first major American man of letters.

Further Reading

Probably the most satisfactory short biography of Cooper is James Grossman, James Fenimore Cooper (1949), although Donald A. Ringe, James Fenimore Cooper (1962), gives fuller critical treatment of Cooper's works, and Robert E. Spiller, Fenimore Cooper: Critic of His Times (1931), provides more background analysis of Cooper's social ideas. None of these biographers had the advantage of James F. Beard, who edited The Letters and Journals of James Fenimore Cooper (6 vols., 1960-1968), and a new biography is needed. □

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Cooper, James Fenimore (1789-1851)

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)

Sources

Novelist

Novelist by Chance. James Cooper (he added Fenimore, his mothers name, in 1826) was born in Burlington, New Jersey, on 15 September 1789. He grew up in Cooperstown, New York, a settlement founded on Otsego Lake by his father, William, a prominent land speculator, judge, and Federalist politician. At the age of thirteen James attended Yale, but he was expelled in his third year, apparently for a prank. He then served in the U.S. Navy for several years. In January 1811, Cooper resigned his commission and married Susan DeLancey, heiress to what Cooper called a handsome fortune. With his new wife, Cooper settled down as a gentleman-farmer. There was nothing in Coopers experience to suggest that he would become a man of letters, much less a professional novelist, and nothing to suggest that he would go on to create one of the most influential Western characters in American literature. It was said that he could not bear to even write a letter. However, as Coopers daughter later recalled, in 1820 Cooper was reading aloud a new British novel to his wife when he suddenly flung it down in disgust. He found it tedious and proclaimed, I can write you a better novel than that, myself! His wife challenged him to do so, and he quickly wrote and published Precaution (1820). Precaution was well received in England and America, and in 1821 Cooper followed it with another novel, The Spy, an adventure tale set during the American Revolution. A literary career was launched.

The Creation of Leatherstocking. It was Coopers next novel, The Pioneers (1823), that established him as a successful American author. The Pioneers is set in Templeton, on the shores of Lake Otsego, in the late eighteenth century. Cooper describes the areas as a onetime primeval forest being developed into a village. The novels fundamental conflict is played out between the towns founder, Judge Temple, a Christian gentleman and proprietor of a large tract of land, and Natty Bumppo, also known as Leatherstocking, a hunter and trapper who has lived peacefully with his Indian companion, Chingachgook, on the judges land. Leatherstocking is a man of the forest, a kindred spirit of its wildlife. He is steeped in Indian lore and the moral code of nature and is disgusted by the sometimes senseless and destructive acts of the settlers. Judge Temple is also disgusted, but as a representative of refined society he sees the law as the solution to the excesses of civilization. Thus, when Natty is arrested for killing a single deer out of season, the Judge is forced to sentence him to jail. Leatherstocking chooses to leave the settlement, disappearing into the woods. The novel suggests that Judge Temple is right to apply the law and it also warns that the wilderness must not be sacrificed in the westward march of American civilization.

Nattys Youth and Death. After writing a novel of the sea, The Pilot (1824), and a second American Revolution novel, Lionel Lincoln (1825), Cooper returned to the adventures of Leatherstocking in The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and The Prairie (1827). Both novels examine the moral implications of Westward expansion. The Last of the Mohicans is set in 1757, when Leatherstocking, here known as Hawkeye, is a young man. The novel is primarily an adventure tale set in the wilderness during the French and Indian War. Hawkeye, more so than any of the white characters in the book, respects the wilderness and understands the Indians who live there. He warns the white characters (and by extension, Coopers white readers) of their arrogance: If you judge of Indian cunning by the rules you find in books, or by white sagacity, they will lead you astray, if not to your death. Hawkeyes humility and virtue allow him to survive in the wilderness. However, as we know from the end of The Pioneers, neither Natty nor the Indians will flourish for long. The Prairie, which portrays Leatherstocking at eighty, completes the cycle begun by the first two novels. The process of expansion has continued into the Great Plains, and the squatters and trappers who lead the way are lawless and reckless, possessing little regard for either law or nature. In his old age Leatherstocking has achieved the necessary virtue and discipline to live free, but he is pursued into the wilderness by those who, as Judge Temple once feared, abuse freedom. At the end of the novel Leatherstocking dies quietly, standing upright and calling out to his maker, Here! His grave is guarded by Pawnee Indians as the spot where a just White-man sleeps.

Europe and America. With the publication of The Last of the Mohicans and The Prairie, Cooper enjoyed great success. He was called the American Scott, after the popular British novelist Sir Walter Scott. In 1826 he sailed for Europe, where he visited England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Belgium. During his seven-year stay in Europe, Cooper found that many Europeans looked down upon or simply misunderstood America. In addition, he found that many Americans admired Europe, ignoring, he felt, the dangers of aristocracy and monarchy. He wrote Notions of the Americans (1827) in order to correct European misconceptions of America, and a series of novels, most notably, The Bravo (1831), in which he attempted to realistically document European society; but when Cooper returned to America in 1833, he found that America had changed. The rise of Jacksonian democracy, emphasizing, in Coopers view, individualism and commercial gain, threatened the values America had been founded on. In the novels Homeward Bound (1838) and Home as Found (1838) Cooper commented on what he saw as the decay of democratic virtue.

Return to Leatherstocking. Coopers critiques of America were not well received, and his difficulties increased as he found himself embroiled in a series of libel suits and a dispute between New York tenant farmers and landlords. Despite these distractions, Cooper was able to return to the saga of Leatherstocking. In 1840 he published The Pathfinder, and in 1841, The Deerslayer, which echoed Coopers earlier critiques of American democracy. Set again near Lake Otsego at the time of Nattys youth, before the settlement of Judge Temple, the soothing holy calm of nature is threatened by lawless and economically motivated settlers. Again, Natty embodies simple competence and virtue. As we know from the other novels, Lake Otsego will continue to develop, and Natty and his Indian companion, Chingach-gook, will be pushed further and further into the wilderness. As one critic has put it, the character of Natty Bumppo remains, an embodied conscience for America. Cooper died in 1851, but his explorations of the conflicts between civilization and freedom, law and nature, would be played out repeatedly in Western literature. His novels would be criticized by Timothy Flint, Bret Harte, and Mark Twain (in his famous essay Fenimore Coopers Literary Offenses) as unrealistic and inaccurate. Nevertheless, the character of Leatherstocking, blending the man of action with the man of natural philosophy, was tremendously influential. As the literary historian Richard Slotkin has pointed out, the figure of the white hunter accompanied by an Indian companion became an essential pairing in American literature and popular culture, from Herman Melvilles Moby-Dick (1851) to Mark Twains Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) to the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Further, as Slotkin writes, the image of the American hero as a man armed and solitary, plebian but worthy somehow of nobility seeking in action his hearts desire continues through Melvilles Ahab, Hemingways Robert Jordan, and the hard-boiled detective, such as Ross MacDonalds Lew Archer, who tells a woman in The Zebra-Striped Hearse (1969), My real name is Natty Bumppo. Hes a character in a book. He was a great man and a great tracker I can shoot a rifle, but as for tracking, I do my best work in cities.

Sources

Donald Ringe, James Fenimore Cooper (Boston: Twayne, 1988);

Richard Slotkin, The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 18001890 (New York: Atheneum, 1985);

Slotkin, Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1973).

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Cooper, James Fenimore (1789-1851)

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)

Sources

Novelist

Finding a Career. James Cooper (he would add Fenimore, his mothers name, in 1826) was the son of William Cooper, speculator and founder of Cooperstown, New York. He attended Yale College from 1803 to 1805 but was dismissed for misconduct and never graduated. In 1806 Cooper went to sea to prepare for a career in the navy; he was commissioned a midshipman in 1808 and served for three and one-half years. After a series of professional failures Cooper found his vocation in 1820 when, on a whim, he wrote his first novel, Precaution. Between 1820 and his death in 1851, Cooper turned out more than thirty novels, several travel volumes, and a political tract, American Democrat (1838). As one of the first professional authors in the United States, Cooper proved that an American could earn a living from writing; The Spy (1821) alone brought him $4, 000 in royalties in its first year of publication.

American Scenes. Influenced by the success of Sir Walter Scotts historical romances in the United States, Cooper used historically influenced narratives to make American manners and American scenes interesting to an American reader. The success of The Spy and The Pioneers (1823) established Cooper as the preeminent American novelist of his time. The popularity of his books abroad as well as in the United States made Cooper the man who could best challenge the scornful British question, Who reads an American book? Coopers most popular works were the novels he wrote between 1821 and 1826, including The Spy, The Pioneers, The Pilot (1824), Lionel Lincoln (1825), and The Last of the Mohicans (1826). These novels drew on the American past and centered on conflicts over land use and ownership in colonial and early republican times. Coopers best-known character, Natty Bumppo, known as Leatherstocking (also called Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans ), made his first appearance in The Pioneers as a white man who resisted the onslaught of American civilization and law and who wanted only to live in harmony with nature like his Indian friends.

Nature and Society. Cooper took an essentially moral view of natuie, believing it to be the gift of a beneficent God, designed for mans use and not for mans plunder. If Leatherstocking represented the archetypal antisocial American man resistant to culture and civilization, other characters in the novels represented the opposite extreme, the white man bent on wholesale destruction of environmental resources. By including thoughtful mediating characters, such as Judge Temple in The Pioneers, Cooper expressed hope that Americans would be able to find a balance between the demands of society on one hand and mans moral responsibility to the American environment on the other without resorting to anarchic lawlessness.

Political Commentator. Coopers travels in Europe from 1826 through 1833 gave him the opportunity to evaluate American democracy in contrast to the political systems he encountered in Europe. In Notions of the Americans (1828) he defended his countrys institutions, but his sensitivity to criticism from American reviewers brought Cooper a cold reception when he returned to the United States in 1833. Shortly afterward Cooper wrote A Letter to His Countrymen (1834), which included commentary on the hostile treatment he had received from the American press. In 1838 he published American Democrat, a more serious treatment of the civil and social relations of the United States, and two novels, Home as Found and Homeward Bound, that offered considerably more-negative treatments of contemporary American life. In light of his experiences abroad and at home, Cooper intended these works to be a kind of political instruction aimed at controlling the difficulties that a democratic system brought its participants. When both novels proved to be critical failures, Cooper returned to historical romances and produced two more Leatherstocking novels, The Pathfinder (1840) and The Deerslayer (1841).

Libel. In 1837 the Whig press sharply attacked Cooper for his role in a land dispute between Cooperstown and the Cooper family, which led him to file the first of many suits against the press for libel. He included chapters devoted to the controversy in Homeward Bound and Home as Found, in response to which several newspapers used their reviews to carry the opposing side. Cooper continued to produce politically-themed novels; in 18451846 in response to antirent agitation in New York State, Cooper wrote the Littlepage Novels to present his prolandlord views. Cooper believed that the antirent struggle showed decay of a sense of values in the American mind and used the three novels to trace the history of this decay from the 1750s. But as William Cullen Bryant said in his eulogy on Cooper, The principal effect of this [political writing], as it seemed to me, was to awaken in certain quarters a kind of resentment that a successful writer of fiction should presume to give lessons in politics. Cooper remains best known for his popular Leatherstocking novels.

Sources

Ethel R. Outland, The Effingham Libels on Cooper, University of Wisconsin Studies in Language and Literature, 28 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1929);

Stephen Railton, Fenimore Cooper: A Study of His Life and Imagination (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978);

Alan Taylor, William Coopers Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic (New York: Vintage, 1995).

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Cooper, James Fenimore

James Fenimore Cooper, 1789–1851, American novelist, b. Burlington, N.J., as James Cooper. He was the first important American writer to draw on the subjects and landscape of his native land in order to create a vivid myth of frontier life.

In 1790 Cooper's family moved to Cooperstown, N.Y., a frontier settlement founded by his father near Otsego Lake. The landscape and history of the area was to greatly influence many of his most famous works. Sent to Yale at 13, Cooper was dismissed for a disciplinary reason in his third year. Soon after he went to sea; commissioned as a U.S. midshipman, he served until 1811, at which time he married and settled into life as a gentleman farmer.

Cooper's literary career, which covers a period of 30 years and includes more than 50 publications, began in 1820 with the appearance of Precaution. Imitative of the English novel of manners, this book failed to gain an audience; but his next work, The Spy (1821), a patriotic story of the American Revolution, was an immediate success. With The Pioneers (1823), the first of the famous Leatherstocking Tales, and The Pilot (1823), an adventure of the high seas, Cooper's reputation as the first major American novelist was established.

In 1826 Cooper went to France, nominally as American consul at Lyons. He spent several years abroad, publishing such novels as The Red Rover (1827), The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish (1829), and The Water-Witch (1830), romances of American life on land and sea. In Notions of the Americans (1828) he defended his country to European critics; but upon his return home, repelled by what he saw as the abuses of American democracy, Cooper became the staunch social critic of American society. Such works as The American Democrat (1838) and the fictional Homeward Bound and its sequel, Home as Found (both 1838), express the conservative, aristocratic social views that made him quite unpopular; his later life was filled with many quarrels and lawsuits over his works.

In his most important novels, the group comprising the Leatherstocking Tales—which in order of the narrative are The Deerslayer (1841), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Pathfinder (1840), The Pioneers (1823), and The Prairie (1827)—Cooper skillfully dramatized the clash between the frontier wilderness and the encroaching civilization. Named for their chief character, the forthright frontiersman Natty Bumppo, nicknamed Leatherstocking, the Leatherstocking Tales are notable for their descriptive power, their mastery of native background, and their romanticized portrayal of the Native American.

Cooper's later works include the novels Afloat and Ashore and its sequel, Miles Wallingford (both 1844), and the Littlepage trilogy—Satanstoe (1845), The Chainbearer (1845), and The Redskins (1846)—a study of the conflict between the landholding and the propertyless classes in New York state, in which Cooper shows himself a traditional defender of the rights of property.

Cooper has been criticized for his extravagant plots, his conventional characters, and his stilted dialogue. Nevertheless, he remains the first great American novelist, a vital and original writer of romances of the wilderness and of the sea, and a harshly astute critic of the growing and stumbling American democracy.

Bibliography

See his correspondence (ed. by his grandson, J. F. Cooper, 2 vol., 1922, repr. 1971); biographical and critical studies by R. E. Spiller (1931, repr. 1963), T. R. Lounsbury (1882, repr. 1968), J. P. McWilliams, Jr. (1972), S. Railton (1978), W. Franklin (1982), and W. P. Kelly (1984); bibliography by R. E. Spiller and P. C. Blackburn (1934, repr. 1969).

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Cooper, James Fenimore

Cooper, James Fenimore (1789–1851) US novelist. One of the earliest American novelists and among the first to gain international recognition. His most successful works were the romantic ‘Leatherstocking Tales’ about the frontier, of which the best known are The Pioneers (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and The Deerslayer (1841). He also wrote a number of novels about life at sea, including The Pilot (1823).

http://oneonta.edu/cooper; http://www.classicbookshelf.com

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