James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years

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Yale University Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 708 pages
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James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) invented the key forms of American fiction—the Western, the sea tale, the Revolutionary War romance. Furthermore, Cooper turned novel writing from a polite diversion into a paying career. He influenced Herman Melville, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Francis Parkman, and even Mark Twain—who felt the need to flagellate Cooper for his “literary offenses.” His novels mark the starting point for any history of our environmental conscience. Far from complicit in the cleansings of Native Americans that characterized the era, Cooper’s fictions traced native losses to their economic sources.
Perhaps no other American writer stands in greater need of a major reevaluation than Cooper. This is the first treatment of Cooper’s life to be based on full access to his family papers. Cooper’s life, as Franklin relates it, is the story of how, in literature and countless other endeavors, Americans in his period sought to solidify their political and cultural economic independence from Britain and, as the Revolutionary generation died, stipulate what the maturing republic was to become. The first of two volumes, James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years covers Cooper’s life from his boyhood up to 1826, when, at the age of thirty-six, he left with his wife and five children for Europe.
  

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James Fenimore Cooper: the early years

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Dulled since Mark Twain's literary lampoon,Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses , Cooper's once-glowing reputation is finally returned to luster with this magnificent study by Franklin (English ... Read full review

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Contents

The Vision
1
Lessons
26
The Voyage of the Stirling
61
Midshipman James Cooper
101
Love and War
140
Fenimore Farm
180
Gains and Losses
216
A Better Book
240
Settlement
335
Taking Manhattan
367
Old Tales and New
400
Legends
428
Hawkeye
454
Literary Business
491
Notes
523
Index
681

An American Tale
270
Legal Troubles
302

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About the author (2007)

Wayne Franklin is author of The New World of James Fenimore Cooper and coeditor of the Norton Anthology of American Literature.  His research on Cooper has had the financial support of the American Antiquarian Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Stanton W. and Elisabeth K. Davis Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. He is professor of English and director of American studies at the University of Connecticut.

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