James Fenimore Cooper Sep.15,1789-Sep.14,1851. 18- 42- 51- 56-0 1 13 31 34 37 62 22 44 52 59
. . . In the customary practice of the day hewas reading aloud to his wife one eveningfrom a current English novel, but found thestory dull. Throwing it aside, he declared,"I could write a better book than thatmyself." And Susans challenge to makegood his boast resulted in his writingPrecaution (1820). . .
Six “first” The first successful American historical romance in the vein of Sir Walter Scott (The Spy, 1821) The first sea novel (The Pilot, 1824). The first attempt at a fully researched historical novel (Lionel Lincoln, 1825). The first full-scale History of the Navy of the United States of America (1839). The first American international novel of manners (Homeward Bound and Home as Found, 1838). The first trilogy in American fiction (Satanstoe, 1845; The Chainbearer, 1845; and The Redskins, 1846). The first and only five-volume epic romance to carry its mythic hero - Natty Bumppo - from youth to old age.
Leatherstocking Tales The Pioneers (1823) —frontier novel The Last of the Mohicans (1826) The Prairie (1827) The Pathfinder (1840) The Deerslayer (1841)
The Leatherstocking Tales A series of novels that each featuring the main hero Natty Bumppo, known by European settlers as "Leatherstocking," The Pathfinder", and "the trapper" and by the Native Americans as "Deerslayer," " Carabine" and "Hawkeye". The five Cooper tales constitute a mythic reproduction of the whole process: Bumppo once lived in forest as a pathfinder and deerslayer servicing for Britain. After war, he was not adapt to the peace life, so he continued to the deep forest as a pioneer and dead in prairie. It described Indians early life and praised their bravery spirits and justice. It implied that the author detest North American colonists and showed sympathy for Indians.
. Writing Styles Plot construction: Cooper was good at inventing plots. His plots are sometimes quite incredible. Landscape description: His landscape descriptions are majestic and suggestive of sir Walter Scott, the legendary spirit of whose border tales might have been a source of inspiration for him. A rich imagination: He had never been to the frontier and among the Indians and yet could write five huge epic books about them with his rich imagination. Free from injustice, he treated the American Indians as noble savages.
Achievements Cooper hit upon the native subject of frontier and wilderness. He contributed to American literature different subgenres of novels: spy novel, sea novel, frontier novel, and historical romance. He created the first legendary frontier hero Natty Bumppo as the typical Pioneering figure. He introduced the West and the frontier as a usable past into American literature, thus ushering in the Western tradition into American world of letters.
CriticismJames Cooper has had many critics. One of the well-known people who put Coopers novels under greatscrutiny and attacked his works continuously has beenMark Twain. Although scholars agree that some ofCoopers novels have flaws, most concur that he is usuallyunderestimated. As Warren points out "without CooperAmerica would be deprived of brilliant power ofobservation."