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James Fenimore Cooper

 

Date Born: 9/15/1789
Place of Birth: Burlington, NJ United States

Date Died: 9/14/0
Place of Death: Cooperstown, NY United States


James Fenimore Cooper was a prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century. He is particularly remembered as a novelist, who wrote numerous sea-stories as well as the historical romances known as the Leatherstocking Tales, featuring frontiersman Natty Bumppo. Among his most famous works is the novel The Last of the Mohicans, which many people consider his masterpiece.

Reared in the wild country round Otsego Lake, New York, on the yet unsettled estates of his father William Cooper, a judge and member of Congress, he was sent to school at Albany and at New Haven, and entered Yale at fourteen, remaining for some time the youngest student on the rolls. Three years afterwards he joined the United States Navy; but after making a voyage or two in a merchant vessel, to perfect himself in seamanship, and obtaining his lieutenancy, he married and resigned his commission (1811). He settled in Westchester County, New York, the "Neutral Ground" of his earliest American romance, and produced anonymously (1820) his first book, Precaution, a novel of the fashionable school. This was followed (1821) by The Spy, which was very successful at the date of issue; The Pioneers (1823), the first of the Leatherstocking series; and The Pilot (1824), a bold and dashing sea-story. The next was Lionel Lincoln (1825), a feeble and unattractive work; and this was succeeded in 1826 by the famous Last of the Mohicans, a book that is often quoted as its author's masterpiece. Quitting America for Europe he published at Paris The Prairie (1826), the best of his books in nearly all respects, and The Red Rover, (1828), by no means his worst. At this period the unequal and uncertain talent of Cooper would seem to have been at its best. These excellent novels were, however, succeeded by one very inferior, The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish (1829); by The Notions of a Travelling Bachelor (1828); and by The Waterwitch (1830), one of his many sea-stories.

In 1830 he entered the lists as a party writer, defending in a series of letters to the National, a Parisian journal, the United States against a string of charges brought against them by the Revue Britannique; and for the rest of his life he continued skirmishing in print, sometimes for the national interest, sometimes for that of the individual, and not infrequently for both at once. This opportunity of making a political confession of faith appears not only to have fortified him in his own convictions, but to have inspired him with the idea of imposing them on the public through the medium of his art. His next three novels, The Bravo (1831), The Heidenmaue (1832) and The Headsman: or the Abbaye of Vigneron (1833), were designed to exalt the people at the expense of the aristocracy. All were widely read on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1833 Cooper returned to America, and immediately published A Letter to my Countrymen, in which he gave his own version of the controversy he had been engaged in, and passed some sharp censure on his compatriots for their share in it. This attack he followed up with The Monikins (1835) and The American Democrat (1835); with several sets of notes on his travels and experiences in Europe, among which may be remarked his England (1837), in. three volumes, a burst of vanity and illtemper; and with Homeward Bound, and Home as Found (1838), noticeable as containing a highly idealized portrait of himself. All these books tended to increase the ill-feeling between author and public; the Whig press was virulent and scandalous in its comments, and Cooper plunged into a series of actions for libel.


Victorious in all of them, he returned to his old occupation with something of his old vigour and success. A History of the Navy of the United States (1839), supplemented (1846) by a set of Lives of Distinguished American Naval Officers, was succeeded by The Pathfinder (1840), a good Leatherstocking novel; by Mercedes of Castile (1840); The Deerslayer (1841); by The Two Admirals and by Wing and Wing (1842); by Wyandotte, The History of a Pocket Handkerchief, and Ned Myers (1843); and by Afloat and Ashore, or the Adventures of Miles Wallingford (1844). From pure fiction, however, he turned again to the combination of art and controversy in which he had achieved distinction, and in the two Littlepage Manuscripts (1845 - 1846) he wrote with a great deal of vigour. His next novel was The Crater, or Vulcan's Peak (1847), in which he attempted to introduce supernatural machinery; and this was succeeded by Oak Openings and Jack Tier (1848), the latter a curious rifacimento of The Red Rover; by The Sea Lions (1849); and finally by The Ways of the Hour (1850), another novel with a purpose, and his last book.

This article from wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Fenimore_Cooper for the full wikipedia article.


Books by James Fenimore Cooper on Riapress.com

The Pilot

By: James Fenimore Cooper


Revolutionary war espionage off the coast of England, from the author of the Leatherstocking novels.


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The Deerslayer

By: James Fenimore Cooper


First in the Leatherstocking chronology but the last to be written, we meet the hero in his youth as he saves the Hutter sisters from certain death.


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The Last of the Mohicans

By: James Fenimore Cooper


In the best-known Leatherstocking story, Natty Bumppo escorts the Munro sisters through upstate New York during the French and Indian War.


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The Pathfinder

By: James Fenimore Cooper




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The Prairie

By: James Fenimore Cooper




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The Pioneers

By: James Fenimore Cooper




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Related Books on Riapress.com

The House of Seven Gables

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne




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The Scarlet Letter

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne




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The Blithedale Romance

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne




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Author Bibliography

Boynton, Henry Walcott. James Fenimore Cooper. New York, The Century Co., 1931.
Brownell, W. C. .American prose masters: Cooper, Hawthorne, Emerson, Poe, Lowell, Henry James. New York: Scribner's, 1923.
Bryant, William Cullen. Orations and addresses. By William Cullen Bryant. New York, G.P. Putnam's, 1873.
Clark, Robert. James Fenimore Cooper: new critical essays. London: Vision; Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1985.
Clymer, William Branford Shubrick. James Fenimore Cooper. New York: Boston: Small, Maynard, 1900.
Dekker, George, ed. Fenimore Cooper: the critical heritage. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973.
Dekker, George. James Fenimore Cooper: the American Scott. New York, Barnes & Noble, 1967.
Dekker, George. James Fenimore Cooper: the novelist. London, Routledge & K. Paul, 1967.
Dennis, Ian. Nationalism and desire in early historical fiction. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.
Dyer, Alan Frank. James Fenimore Cooper: an annotated bibliography of criticism. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.
Erskine, John. Leading American novelists. New York: H. Holt and company, 1910.
Fields, Wayne. James Fenimore Cooper, a collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1979.
Franklin, Wayne. The new world of James Fenimore Cooper. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.
Frye, Steven. Historiography and narrative design in the American romance: a study of four authors. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2001.
Greene, Charles Warren. James Fenimore Cooper. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott company, 1889.
Grossman, James. James Fenimore Cooper. New York: W. Sloane Associates, 1949.
Humphrey, William. Ah, wilderness!: The frontier in American literature. El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1977.
Leisy, Ernest Erwin. The American historical novel before 1860; the early novels of James Fenimore Cooper. Folcroft, PA: Folcroft Library Editions, 1973.
Long, Robert Emmet. James Fenimore Cooper. New York: Continuum, 1990.
Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesford. James Fenimore Cooper. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1883.
Mani, Lakshmi. The apocalyptic vision in nineteenth century American fiction: a study of Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville. Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1981.
Memorial of James Fenimore Cooper. New York, G.P. Putnam, 1852.
Peck, H. Daniel. A world by itself: the pastoral moment in Cooper's fiction. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977.
Person, Leland S. A historical guide to James Fenimore Cooper. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
Philbrick, Thomas. James Fenimore Cooper and the development of American sea fiction.. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1961.
Phillips, Mary Elizabeth. James Fenimore Cooper. New York: John Lane Company, 1913.
Proudfit, Isabel Boyd. James Fenimore Cooper. New York: J. Messner, 1946.
Railton, Stephen. Fenimore Cooper: a study of his life and imagination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978.
Ringe, Donald A. James Fenimore Cooper. New York, Twayne Publishers, 1962.
Shapiro, Charles, ed. Twelve original essays on great American novels. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1958.
Spiller, Robert Ernest. A descriptive bibliography of the writings of James Fenimore Cooper. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1934.
Spiller, Robert Ernest. James Fenimore Cooper. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, 1965.
Tawil, Ezra F. The making of racial sentiment: slavery and the birth of the frontier romance. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Walker, Warren S. James Fenimore Cooper: an introduction and interpretation. New York, Barnes & Noble, 1962.
White, Craig. Student companion to James Fenimore Cooper. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.