James Fenimore Cooper Books

Easton Press James Fenimore Cooper books:
The Deerslayer - 1961
The Spy - 1963
The Pathfinder - 1965
The Praire - 1968
The Pilot - 1968
The Last of The Mohicans -1979

LeatherStocking Tales including:
The Deerslayer
The Last of The Mohicans
The Pathfinder
The Prairie
The Pioneers

Franklin Library James Fenimore Cooper books:
The Last of The Mohicans - 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature - 1977
The Last of The Mohicans - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1979
The Last of The Mohicans - World's Best Loved Books - 1981
The Deerslayer - 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature - 1982
The Deerslayer - World's Best Loved Books - 1985

Author James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper, (1789-1851), American author, born in Burlington, N.J., and educated at Yale University. In 1790, his family settled on a large tract of land in central N.Y. where they established the town of Cooperstown. James Fenimore Cooper spent his boyhood in this region, acquiring the intimate knowledge of forest lore and Indians which characterizes much of his writing. He entered Yale University in 1803, but because of his defiant attitude toward academic discipline, was forced to leave in his junior year. James Fenimore Cooper entered the merchant marine as a sailor before the mast in the following year. In January, 1808, he received a commission as a midshipman in the U.S. navy. After three years of naval service, which included duty with a shipbuilding party on Lake Ontario, he resigned his commission. This act, which occurred shortly before the outbreak of the War of 1812, was probably motivated by pro- British sympathies.

Meanwhile (January 1st, 1811), James Fenimore Cooper had married the daughter of the prominent DeLancey family, of Mamaroneck, N.Y. For the greater part of the next eleven years, he lived at his wife's home, managing her estates. James Fenimore Cooper began his literary career, in 1819, primarily to demonstrate to his wife that he could write a better novel than one they were reading. James Fenimore Cooper's first work, Precaution (1820), a conventional novel about life in England, was a failure. Selecting the American scene as the background for his next work, he wrote The Spy (1821). This novel, aromantic tale of the American Revolution, was immediately successful, both in the U.S. and abroad. In 1823 he completed The Pioneers, the first of five novels, subsequently known as the Leather stocking series, dealing with life in the American wilderness. This work introduced the backwoodsman Natty Bumppo, one of the most memorable characters in American fiction. James Fenimore Cooper also wrote, in 1823, The Pilot, the first of a number of novels about the sea. In his work he created another memorable character, Long Tom Coffin. Coopers next important work was The Last of the Mohicans (1826), a romantic novel of life among the American Indians, which is generally regarded as his greatest achievement. By this time, James Fenimore Cooper was universally recognized as the leading American novelist.

From 1826 to 1833, James Fenimore Cooper lived and traveled in Europe. He continued to write during this period, producing The Prairie (1827), another of the Leather stocking series; and The Red Rover (1827), The Wept of the Wishton-Wish (1829), and The Water Witch (1830), all novels with seafaring backgrounds. A trilogy, The Bravo (1831), The Heidenmauer (1832), and The Headsman (1833), depicted from a republican viewpoint social relations in Europe during the Middle Ages.

James Fenimore Cooper's first work after his return to the U.S. was A Letter to His Countrymen (1834), the first of a series of works of social criticism directed at his countrymen. Among these works, which were vigorously attacked in the American press as snobbish and antidemocratic, are The Monikins (1836), The American Democrat (18380, Homeward Bound (1838), Home as Found (1838). Aspersions on his personal character accompanied many of the press attacks on these works and he successfully sued a number of newspapers for libel.

Resuming residence at Cooperstown, he wrote with increased productivity, both in fiction and nonfiction. The notable nonfiction works of this period are History of the Navy (18390 and a sequel, Lives of Distinguished American Navel Officers (1846). Of the novels he wrote at Cooperstown, The Pathfinder (1840) and the Deerslayer (1841) are among his greatest works. These novels, which completed the Leatherstocking series, were followed by sixteen other works of fiction, notably Wing-and-Wing (1842), Afloat and Ashore (1844), and Miles Wallingford (1844), sea romances; and Satanstoe (18450, The Chainbearer (1845), and The Redskin (1846), a trilogy, called the Little Page Manuscripts, which deals with the relations between the wealthy and the poor in New York State.

Cooper's standing among great American novelist rest largely upon his narrative and imaginative faculties, his use of dramatic incident and plot, and his ability to describe romantic background. He was the first American writer to give vivid portrayals of the sea, the primeval forest, and the prairie. He had many faults as a stylist, however, and some of his characters, notably his women, are wooden and lifeless. While critical appraisals of his stature as a novelist are frequently at variance, he continues to be one of the most widely American authors.

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