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James Fenimore Cooper

(1789—1851) American novelist


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(1789–1851),

American novelist, came into prominence with his second book The Spy (1821), a stirring tale of the American revolution. The Pioneers (1823) was the first of his best‐known group of novels, Leather‐Stocking Tales, called after the deerskin leggings of their hero, pioneer scout Natty Bumppo (alias ‘Deerslayer’, ‘Pathfinder’ or ‘Hawkeye’); the sequels were The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840), and The Deerslayer (1841). They deal with adventures of the frontier and give a vivid picture of American Indian and pioneer life.

From 1826 to 1833Cooper travelled in Europe, and on his return appeared several highly critical accounts of European society, including England, with Sketches of Society in the Metropolis (1837) which was violently attacked in Britain, notably by Lockhart. Cooper was also deeply critical of American democracy, and expressed his conservative opinions directly in The American Democrat (1838) and fictionally in Homeward Bound and Home as Found (both 1838). Among his many other works are the scholarly The History of the Navy of the United States (1839); Satanstoe (1845), a historical novel of manners; and The Crater (1848), a Utopian social allegory.

Subjects: Literature.


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