James Fenimore Cooper
by Becky Roche
Basic Biographical Information
- James Fenimore Cooper was born in 1786 and died in 1851
- He was a popular American writer in the early nineteenth century
- He lived in Cooperstown, New York and attended Yale for three years
- He served in the United States Navy which influenced many of his novels
- He is best remembered for the Leatherstocking Tales and The Last of the Mohicans
Portrait of James Fenimore Cooper
A series of books by James Fenimore Cooper, The Leatherstocking Tales
One of James Fenimore Cooper's books, The Pioneers
James Fenimore Cooper history/herstory
The Early American Romantics: Irving and Cooper
- James Fenimore Cooper was one of the most controversial figures in American literature
- He was among the first and the last of America’s great novelists.
- He is first, preceding Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Mark Twain, and may have influenced some or all of these writers in one way or another.
- He may be among the last in artistic achievement, however, as critics sometimes call attention to what they perceive as flaws in his characterization and other aspects of his novels.
- Cooper is an important figure in American literature, known particularly for his creation of the idealized hero Natty Bumppo and for his treatment of the American frontier in The Leather-Stocking Tales, a series of five novels that include The Pioneers in 1823, The Last of the Mohicans in 1826, and The Deerslayer in 1841.
- In 1820, John Cooper's wife said that he could write a book better than the one she was reading. In response to this, Cooper wrote the novel Precaution.
- The book's focus on manners and morals was influenced by Jane Austen's approach to fiction. He published Precaution anonymously and wrote other novels soon after.
- In 1823, he published The Pioneers, the first installment of the Leatherstocking series.
- The series features Natty Bumppo, a resourceful American woodsman at home with the Delaware Indians and their chief Chingachgook.
- Bumppo was also the main character of Cooper's most famous novel, The Last of the Mohicans written in 1826.
- Written in New York City, where Cooper and his family lived from 1822 to 1826, the book became one of the most widely read American novels of the 19th century.