Leatherstocking Tales (American History Through Literature)
James Fenimore Cooper's (1789851) Leather-stocking Tales were the first American stories to capture the imagination of readers around the world, and they began the tradition of the American novel. Named after the garment worn by their central character, Natty Bumppo, the Leatherstocking Tales consist of The Pioneers (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840), and The Deerslayer (1841). Bumppo appears in all the novels: as an aging marksman in The Pioneers; as Hawkeye, named for his prowess with a rifle, in The Last of the Mohicans; as "the trapper," an old man, in The Prairie; as a young "scout" during wartime in The Pathfinder; and as a young hunter in The Deerslayer. Cooper and the public were loyal to Natty throughout his many incarnations, and he may have reminded some Americans of frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone (1734820). To the French novelist Honoré de Balzac, Bumppo was a unique combination of savagery and civilization "who will live as long as literatures last" (p. 2).
COOPER AND THE EARLY REPUBLIC
The key word for the inception of both the Leatherstocking Tales and the United States is "experiment." The Founding Fathers knew that republican government is the most difficult form of government to establish and preserve, and most educated Europeans still consider the United States an experiment in government and in multicultural living. Cooper, toying with the idea of becoming a novelist, plunged into writing with the same energy he had expended previously on agricultural studies, whaling, and the navy.
As Cooper wrote in a preface to The Spy (1821), his first attempt at an American novel, the nation was "passing from the gristle into the bone" (p. 21). He was uniquely positioned to identify with the founding because he was born the year the Constitution took effect and had been moved in infancy to the frontier that would become Cooperstown, New York. Not only was his father a judge and congressman but the family also knew the founders and many of the heroes of the American Revolution. The story that would become The Spy in fact grew from an anecdote told to him by John Jay (1745829), the first chief justice of the Supreme Court and one of the founders of the nation. When the book was pirated and turned out to be popular not only in England but also in France, Germany, Russia, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy, America had its first major novelist. From that time on, newspapers in the states prefaced reviews of Cooper's early works by reprinting the taunt of the English critic Sydney Smith (1771845), who had sneered in The Edinburgh Review (January 1820): "In the four corners of the globe, who reads an American book?"
Much of the popularity of The Spy can be explained by its subject. By 1820 the American Revolution seemed to be succeeding, unlike the French experiment that had ended in the Reign of Terror. Cooper was uniquely qualified to write such a history since he added to his family's connections with the founders his own 1811 marriage to Susan De Lancey. This gave him access to the papers and some of the property of one of the most prominent Tory families in our first civil war. He was living in a cottage he and Susan had built in 1817 on the "neutral ground" that is the scene of much of the action in the novel.
The amount of fiction and history that Cooper wrote during his lifetime attests to his love of writing, and once he found that he could write for profit he reassessed his position. Saying that he had written to please others, including his wife (who had read the proofs for the first volume of The Spy while he was busy elsewhere), he said that he was writing The Pioneers to please himself. No one at the time had any indication that this would turn out to be the first of the Leatherstocking Tales, but the debut of the series was notable because The Pioneers sold 3,500 copies on the morning of its publication in 1823.
Readers complain that The Pioneers starts slowly, although in the first chapter the founder of the village, Judge Temple, shoots at a deer and instead hits and wounds a mysterious young man who lives in a cabin with Natty Bumppo, a white hunter, and a Delaware Indian whose Christian name is John Mohegan. Cooper the historian takes over as he tells about Judge Temple's acquisition of the land and his preRevolutionary friendship with the Effingham family who, having fought as Loyalists, had lost their property
In the third chapter, a party in the judge's sleigh halts at the top of a mountain and admires the vista. Nestled in the valley below are the village and lake that will be the scene of much of the action. The judge's daughter, Elizabeth, gets her first glimpse of the home she left four years earlier to finish her schooling. A second sleigh arrives driven by the judge's cousin, Richard Jones, who fancies himself an expert at everything and proves to be a menace. The characters introduced include an old German, Major Hartmann, a descendant of the Palatine settlers, who has arrived for his Christmas visit; a Frenchman, Le Quoi, a political refugee from Martinique who is running a store in the village but longs to return to France; an Episcopal minister, Mr. Grant; and Agamemnon, a black indentured to Richard Jones, who is no Quaker like the judge and can own a temporary slave.
When the narrative reaches the judge's home, Cooper introduces Benjamin Penguillan, a native of Cornwall and a former British sailor now employed as a majordomo by Jones; Remarkable Pettibone, a snuff-taking Puritan with all the unlovely characteristics Cooper attributed to members of that group; and a self-appointed "doctor" named Todd, who has read books and practiced medicine in order to be accepted as a physician.
It is Christmas Eve, and many of the characters attend a church service in a building that serves as both school and church, its exact denomination being unsettled as the congregation of settlers is made up of "half the nations in the north of Europe" (p. 124). After a lengthy discussion of the various forms of worship contending for supremacy, most of the principal males retire to a tavern kept by the Irish Hollisters (who are Methodists), two characters Cooper's readers would remember from The Spy. As the customers assemble, the best seats are taken by "Dr." Todd and one of the town's two lawyers. When others arrive and they drink from mugs they pass around, tensions and different values emerge. The lawyer tries to stir up support for a lawsuit against the judge for wounding someone the lawyer alleges is "the son of Leatherstocking" (p. 150). One Hiram Doolittle, whose unwarranted self-assurance prompts him to speak out on all subjects and who gets a job later as justice of the peace, thinks it may be a prison matter. As the judge arrives, the lawyer "slunk from the room" (p. 157). His comfortable seat is taken by Richard Jones.
In the ensuing discussion, some of the themes of the book emerge as the judge learns that one settler has cashed in his cleared land instead of staying to farm it and has temporarily opened a school until spring when he may go into trade or move to a region "they say" is booming. (Rumors are so important in the village that They Say almost becomes a character.) Meanwhile, Natty and John Mohegan have arrived and after a few drinks the Indian, obviously drunk, starts bragging of his victories only to be interrupted by Natty, who says, "Why do you sing of your battles, Chingachgook, . . . when the worst enemy of all is near you and keeps the Young Eagle from his rights?" (p. 165). To Natty, the judge is the worst enemy and the wounded man is the Young Eagle whose land the judge now possesses. Natty is speaking the Delaware language, however, and the reader is dependent on Cooper's translation for the sense of this provocative statement. By the end of the tavern scene most of the latent problems of forming a settled society out of such disparate peoples are clear.
To the motley crew assembled so far, Cooper shortly adds a woodchopper, Billy Kirby, who hates trees as a symbol of upper-class estates in the Old World and makes a living collecting syrup from them as well as cutting them down. (The need to conserve and build on the natural resources of the country, represented by the judge, will be seconded later in the novel by Natty Bumppo, after the famous scene in which thousands of pigeons are needlessly wiped out; Natty constantly complains of the "wasty ways" [p. 248] of the settlers.) More characters appear Christmas morning as a free black brings a collection of fowl that he sells as prizes in the annual holiday turkey shoot. Abraham Freeborn, a superior show-man, uses his race to his advantage insisting that the people paying for a chance to shoot at the head of one of his fowls "gib a nigger fair play" (p. 193).
As the novel proceeds and Natty is accused of killing a deer out of season, the judge correctly upholds the rule of law and insists that Natty stand trial but attempts privately to aid the culprit when he gives Elizabeth money to give Natty so he can pay his fine. In spite of such minor offenses, however, Natty ultimately emerges as admirable because he proves to have cared for old Major Effingham, his former employer, since the Revolution and because he befriends Chingachgook. Natty insists that baptism as a Christian is no fair exchange for the loss of the Indians' lands and the curse of alcohol that the whites have brought to them. At Chingachgook's death as the book ends, the sober Indian reverts to his true culture. The French writer George Sand (1804876) wrote that by making Chingachgook an ally of the whites and a "sort of" convert, Cooper could plead for the Indian without hurting the pride of the country. Yet she insisted that he was also lamenting "a noble people exterminated" and "a serene natural world laid waste" (pp. 28182).
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
The second book in the series, The Last of the Mohicans, is subtitled "A Narrative of 1757," which is the date of a famous massacre at Fort William Henry during the French and Indian war. Along with the French infraction of the Laws of War (which were internationally recognized long before the Geneva Accords), responsibility for the massacre lay with the Abenaki Indians, who hated the British for reasons of their own. For his own purposes Cooper makes these animosities personal rather than tribal, and he introduces a motivation for Indian hatred that Mark Twain would adopt for Injun Joe in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: an Indian never forgets an injury. This explains the villain, Magua, a renegade Indian who has been flogged by Colonel Munro, the Scottish commander of Fort William Henry. Magua gets his chance for revenge when he volunteers to guide Munro's daughters and their escort, Major Duncan Heyward, to the fort. Fortunately for them, in the forest they encounter Natty, Chingachgook, and Chingachgook's son, Uncas. This trio alerts Heyward to the danger, but when they try to capture Magua he escapes, only to return later at the head of a band of hostile Indians.
From then on the book is a series of captures, pursuits, disguises, and deceptions. Magua wants to even the score with Munro by enslaving and abusing his eldest daughter, Cora, with everyone knowing he could kill her at any time. Cora and Uncas, as the action unfolds, are mutually attracted. Alice, the other daughter, is a blond fainting type typical of the Cooper female and other heroines of the time. Only Duncan Heyward is interested in her, but when he asks Colonel Munro for her hand, the father brings up the subject of race, which has been lurking in the novel ever since Cora admired the Indians and insisted on being fair to the people of dark skin. Munro says that while he was on duty in the West Indies he married the daughter of a gentleman whose wife was "descended, remotely, from that unfortunate class who are so basely enslaved to administer to the wants of a luxurious people" (p. 159). Cora's mother having died, the colonel, enriched by the marriage, had returned to Scotland and married the woman who would be the mother of Alice. In The Pioneers, Elizabeth Temple had taken the part of the Indians and said that she grieved to see old Mohegan walking on the land like the ghost of one of its ancient possessors and feel how small was her own right to possess it. Elizabeth had also aided Natty and Chingachgook at the risk of her own life. Cora is equally resourceful, and she aids Natty (and herself and Alice) by following his instructions and marking a trail that Natty and the Indians can follow.
In this, the most operatic of the Leatherstocking Tales, flight and recapture and disguises and deceits occur at a breathless pace until the final scenes in the camp of the Delawares. Here the famous chief Tamenund presides over an Indian court that reluctantly awards Cora to Magua as his legitimate prisoner but at the same time reveals that Uncas, whose chest is marked by a totemic turtle, is the last of the most noble line of chiefs of the Delawares. One more flightand-fight sequence follows, ending in the deaths of both Cora and Uncas and with Natty shooting Magua. At the funeral ceremony for Cora and Uncas, the Indians predict that they will be together in the next world, but Natty disagrees even while he is pledging his undying loyalty to Chingachgook. Tamenund has the last word, however, declaring that the palefaces are the masters of the earth and that the "time of the red men has not yet come again" (p. 350).
For the nation's Bicentennial in 1976, the Wilmington, Delaware, Opera Society commissioned an opera of The Last of the Mohicans. In the accompanying booklet, Gladys Tantaquidgeon, a Mohegan, said that the last hereditary chief named Uncas died in 1769. While appropriating Mohegan lands, the whites also appropriated the name of Tamenund. After the Revolution, Tammany societies in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere (but not New England) were formed in honor of this famous chief. The one in New York lasted the longest and eventually degenerated into the "boss" system of corrupt politics. More than a dozen films have been made of this novel, which confirms Cooper's belief that "There is little reluctance to mingle the white and red blood. . . . I think an amalgamation of the two races would in time occur. Those families of America who are thought to have any of the Indian blood, are rather proud of their descent" (Notions of the Americans, p. 490). As Jeffrey Walker has written, "to match Uncas with the fair-haired Alice, as Hollywood filmmakers continue to do, is to misunderstand the very essence of Cooper's theme in The Last of the Mohicans" (p. 182).
A FRESH VIEW OF NORTH AMERICAN HISTORY
With the solemn and ceremonial ending of The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper broke new ground by insisting that the continent had a history predating the arrival of the white man. Some people in New England had long portrayed the region as a territory without a past prior to their arrival. James Russell Lowell (1819891) described the operative view in The Biglow Papers (1848), writing, "O Strange New World, thet yit wast never young, / Whose youth from thee by gripin' need was wrung." By ignoring the Indians they had killed off or sold into slavery, New Englanders had claimed to have settled a land without a history. (Not for nothing did Herman Melville name the doomed ship in Moby-Dick, which was owned by sharp Yankee traders who did business out of a wigwam made of whalebone, the Pequod reference to the Massachusetts Indian tribe all but extermintated by the Puritans.)
The pledge that Natty makes to Chingachgook in The Last of the Mohicans had already been carried out, in a minor way, in The Pioneers, and the reader sees practically nothing of Chingachgook until the last of the Leatherstocking Tales, in which Natty's commitment is central. According to Cooper and his daughter Susan, Chingachgook, Uncas, and Hard-Heart (the Pawnee Natty will adopt in the next tale) were based on two chiefsngpatonga and Petalesharoho were honored guests in New York during the winter of 1821822. The former was a famous orator and the latter had become a hero for risking his life to save a girl from becoming a sacrifice in a ritual of her
For his next tale, The Prairie, Cooper departed from prehistory and transferred Natty Bumppo to the history being made more currently by way of the expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. He also used Major Stephen Long's report of his journey to the Rocky Mountains in 1819820. Cooper added to these explorations a heroine snatched from the Louisiana Territory, purchased from France by Thomas Jefferson.
Cooper had begun writing The Prairie immediately after finishing Mohicans, but the new novel was only half-written when he moved his family to France in June 1826. Preparing for a lengthy stay in the Old World, Cooper realized that in Natty he had created a character that was one answer to a major question of the time: What is an American? Without family, money, or possessions that he has not obtained by his own efforts, the illiterate Natty has only one advantage. He has been exposed to the religious views of the Moravians, who were important missionaries to the Indians. To the Catholic Moravians Natty credits his Christian morality and his (lowercase "c") catholic tolerance for differences in people. He was a very possible American for the new republic to produce; even his famous shooting ability was only slightly exaggerated, if at all. Yet such was the soundness of his morality, particularly when compared to the sordid jealousies and petty actions of his contemporaries in The Pioneers, that even modern readers might agree with the Boston reader who said he longed to go with him when Natty whistles to his hounds, shoulders his gun, and departs into the forest at the end of the book.
Cooper ages the old hunter still more for The Prairie, and the famous first scene makes him appear larger than life when seen by other migrants on the frontier in the light of the setting sun. The travelers are the clan of Ishmael Bush, who, like Natty, is illiterate, and who has also fallen afoul of the laws of the settled parts of the country. To the casual observer, the two men seem much alike, but the book will dramatize the differences as well as explain, if not condone, the actions of various Indians, women, and other white men. The aged Natty, lonely and garrulous, is reduced to making his living by trapping rather than hunting, but he is still able to return the "grasp of any extended hand" (p. 15). He is the only character who can literally speak everyone else's language and is consequently pivotal in the action. The setting is important because the prairie, having no boundaries, is a neutral ground where one has to create one's own society. In addition to representing the political and ideological openness of America, the prairie may also be a symbol of the ruined landscape of the American future.
The novel offersesides warring Indians and a pedantic "scientist" who represents Cooper's attempt at a comic character spectrum of females. An orphan, Ellen Wade, is a well-bred girl who must depend on her aunt Esther, who is Ishmael's mannish wife. Esther's daughters are as crude as their father and brothers. A captive of the clan is a Catholic girl of Spanish blood kidnapped on her wedding day by Esther Bush's brother and being held for ransom. Even more helpless and pitiful than Spanish Inez is Tachechana, the wife of the Sioux chief Mahtoree.
Cooper's speculation about future assimilation of dissimilar peoples comes with his prediction of a happy marriage for Inez and Captain Duncan Uncas Middleton, the grandson of Duncan Heyward and Alice Munro of The Last of the Mohicans.
In such a novel intermixture . . . of men born and nurtured in freedom, and the compliant minions of absolute power, the catholic and the protestant, the active and the indolent, some little time was necessary to blend the discrepant elements of society. In attaining so desirable an end, woman was made to perform her accustomed and grateful office. The barriers of Prejudice and religion were broken through by the irresistible power of the Master Passion, and family unions, ere long, began to cement the political tie which had made a forced conjunction, between people so opposite in their habits, their educations, and their opinions. (P. 156)
This marriage, connecting Natty to the two previous Leatherstocking Tales, prepares for the final scene in which Natty dies in a Pawnee village. He sends his rifle, pouch, and horn back to the Effinghams in Templeton and gives his traps and his blessing to his adopted Pawnee son, Hard-Heart. He asks Middleton to bury him with the skin of his dead dog Hector at his side. Middleton also promises him to erect above this Indian-style burial a white man's gravestone. Through the book Natty has predicted that, in spite of the various names he has been called through life, "I shall be able to answer to any of mine in a loud and manly voice" (p. 385). At sunset Natty dies after saying one word, a loud and clear "Here!" (This had also been his answer to the judge in The Pioneers.) By contrast with this memorable tableau, at the end of the book the teams and herds of the squatter Ishmael are "blended among a thousand others. Though some of the numerous descendants of this peculiar pair were reclaimed from their lawless and semi-barbarous lives," Ishmael and his virago of a wife "were never heard of more" (p. 364).
NATTY BUMPPO REDIVIVUS: THE PATHFINDER AND THE DEERSLAYER
Having buried Natty at the end of The Prairie in 1827, Cooper acknowledged in his 1851 preface to The Pathfinder that bringing him back to life after he had been "consigned to his grave" was a "hazardous experiment." The resurrected Natty is about the same age he was in Last of the Mohicans and is once again involved in the French and Indian War of 1754760 but in a different part of the frontier as the British and French fight for possession of North America. A year after publishing The Pathfinder, Cooper produced The Deerslayer, which is the first nickname Natty acquires and shows Natty and Chingachgook at the beginning of their careers. The direction of the Leatherstocking Tales thus goes from old age in The Pioneers to youth in the The Deerslayer except for The Prairie. D. H. Lawrence declared that this was the "true myth" of America: the name Chingachgook (which means "great serpent" and is pronounced king-ach-gook) may have been what led Lawrence to say that America "starts old, wrinkled and writhing in an old skin. And there is a gradual sloughing of the old skin, towards a new youth" (p. 54).
After writing The Prairie, Cooper had invented the sea novel with the publication of The Pilot (1823) and Red Rover (1824). He had also written novels set in Europe and travel books about Europe and had lent his pen to Lafayette in a French controversy over the comparative costs of monarchy and democracy. His long residence in Europe and his involvement in French affairs, coupled with his criticism of American society on his return home, led to attacks by the American media. Attempting to recapture his American readers, and being largely dependent on British and other foreign royalties, Cooper responded to his British publisher's request for a "naval story on your own inland Seas" (the Great Lakes). Cooper's answer described the work in progress as "a nautico-lake-savage romance" (Letters and Journals, p. 370) that he first called "Inland Sea." He later referred to "Pathfinder" as a working title. Once in possession of his, and the public's, favorite hero, Cooper worked steadily.
The French and Indian War put the colonials in a difficult position because they disliked the French but had mixed feelings about the English. The loyalties of the Indian tribes were similarly confused, and the book is a snarl of betrayals that contrast with the Pathfinder's fidelity. The book opens with four people, two of each sex, on a pile of trees overlooking a forest that the heroine compares to the ocean. Two of the four are Indians; the male Indian proves to be a traitor while the female Indian's loyalties are tragically divided between obedience to her husband and her liking for the white heroine, Mabel. Mabel is a docile daughter who consents to marry Natty, who is her father's friend, even though she loves another character, Jasper. Natty recognizes the threat to his career and his character, saying, "I sometimes tell the sergeant, that he and his daughter will be the spoiling of one of the best and most experienced scouts on the lines" (p. 190). When he magnanimously relinquishes Mabel to Jasper, he says, "I have indeed, been on a false trail since we met!" (p. 272). He promises to see the couple whenever he can look upon Mabel "as a sister . . . or a child," and Cooper tells the reader that they never met again (p. 467).
In no other Leatherstocking tale is there so much talk about God's Providence and about the wilderness as a religious sanctuary. Natty's repeated references to Providence were usual for the time, and Cooper's readers might be aware that George Washington (1732799), fighting in the same French and Indian War, had said that only God's Providence had saved him when he had bullet holes in his clothing and two horses shot out from under him. Natty's morality, more than his prowess as a hunter or guide, comes through in this book as he says, "The 'arth is the temple of the Lord, and I wait on him hourly, daily, without ceasing, I humbly hope" (p. 43334). Cooper's own judgment had been put in the mouth of Eve Effingham in his Home as Found (1838); she describes him as a "renowned hunter; a man who had the simplicity of a woodsman, the heroism of a savage, the faith of a Christian, and the feelings of a poet" (p. 196).
While Natty has always been willing to aid others, not until The Pathfinder has he made a personal sacrifice that increases his moral stature. The basis for such a character is predicted in the opening of The Deerslayer, where he is introduced as one of "two men who had lost their way, and were searching in different directions for their path" (p. 17). The other man, Harry March, is younger and better-looking than Natty. Their different characters are immediately suggested when Harry shoots at a deer and the echo seems to "object." By contrast, when Natty kills his first man, an Indian who is firing at him from ambush, nature attests to the fairness of the act as the hills return a single echo for the two shots. This Indian, dying, gives him the name Hawkeye. Harry has come to the lake to see a woman he is courting while Natty is there to meet Chingachgook and help him retrieve his betrothed, Hist-oh!-Hist, who has been kidnapped by another Indian.
Scalping was introduced by Europeans and the British and French are paying well for scalps. For the first time in the Leatherstocking Tales scalping is important as a test of character. Natty does not oppose scalping by Indians, but he never takes a scalp. By contrast, Harry and the old pirate Thomas Hutter, who is hiding out on the lake, go after scalps for the cash. (Harry also considers Indians animals, as some of Cooper's critics did.)
Again, the moral hierarchy the book offers is mixed. One girl, Hetty, is dangerously pious and literally too good for this world. Natty does not respond to the blandishments of the beautiful but tarnished Judith in spite of her imaginative effort to save him from torture by the Indians. Rivenoak, the chief of the enemy Hurons, comes through as a likable character as he tries to provide for his tribe (including the widow of the man Natty has killed) and is unable to deny them the vengeance they demand in return for their losses. At the end of the action, Natty leaves with Chingachgook and Hist, only to return with Chingachgook and Uncas fifteen years later. Finding a ribbon in the ruins, which recalls Judith's "beauty" and "failings" (p. 547), Natty knots it on the stock of Killdeer, the rifle she had given him.
Some have seen in the lifelong friendship of Natty and Chingachgook the beginning of a pattern of inter-racial masculine loyalty that would be repeated in Melville's Ishmael and Queequeg, Twain's Huck and Jim, and in television's Lone Ranger and Tonto. Although Twain famously burlesques Cooper's style and plotting in "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses," his borrowings from Cooper were plentiful, as Sacvan Bercovitch and others have noticed, and the usages he said he found in The Deerslayer are not there. Added to Twain's funny spoof is the judgment of Max Rudin, publisher of the Library of America, who said "Cooper's greatness never rested on a literary style that could become outmoded; it lay in the founding of a literature that will forever oscillate between the desolation of promise betrayed and the immense longing for another fresh start."
See also Borders; Exploration and Discovery; Indians; Manhood; Nature; Nautical Literature; Romanticism
Balzac, Honoré de. Revue Parisienne. 1840. In Leatherstocking and the Critics, translated by Warren S. Walker. Chicago: Scott, Foresman, 1965.
Cooper, James Fenimore, The Deerslayer. 1841. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987.
Cooper, James Fenimore. Home as Found. 1838. New York: Putnam, Pathfinder Edition, n.d.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans. 1826. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1983.
Cooper, James Fenimore. Letters and Journals. Vol. 3. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard Univeristy Press, 1964.
Cooper, James Fenimore. Notions of the Americans. 1828. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Pathfinder. 1840. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1981.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Pioneers. 1823. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1980.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Prairie. 1827. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985.
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Spy. 1821. Brooklyn, N.Y.: AMS Press, 2002.
Berkovitch, Sacvan. "Huckleberry Bumppo: A Comparison of Tom Sawyer and The Pioneers." Mark Twain Journal 14, no. 2 (1968): 1.
Dyer, Alan F. James Fenimore Cooper: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.
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Ringe, Donald A. The Pictorial Mode: Space and Time in the Art of Bryant, Irving, and Cooper. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1971.
Rudin, Max. "Editorial Extra from The Library of America." Remarks delivered (on the publication of the Leatherstocking novels and two Cooper sea tales) at the Museum of the American Indian in New York City, April 1999.
Sand, George. Autour de la Table. 1865. As quoted in translation by D. B. Wood in Fenimore Cooper: The Critical Heritage, edited by George Dekker and John P. McWilliams. London and Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973.
Twain, Mark. "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences." North American Review (July 1895): 12.
Walker, Jeffrey. "Deconstructing an American Myth." In Hollywood's Indian: The Portrayal of the Native American in Film, edited by Peter C. Rollins and John E. O'Connor. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1998.
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