In the Leatherstocking Tales, Cooper created one of the earliest, one of the most representative, and one of the best American heroes. Natty Bumppo, like young America, is an orphan who must forge his destiny on the edge of civilization. A moral man, he sorts through his Christian background, the mores of civilization, and the laws of the Indians to create his individual code of behavior.
Cooper brought this vision not only to the United States but also to the world. At a time when American literature was devalued, he offered hope by weaving a tapestry of America’s past and presenting it in a popular form, the romance, for all to see.
James Cooper was born in Burlington, New Jersey, on September 15, 1789, the twelfth of thirteen children of William and Elizabeth Cooper. He added Fenimore to his name in 1826 in memory of his mother’s family. Elizabeth Fenimore was an heiress whose wealth contributed to William Cooper’s success in buying and developing a large tract of land on which he founded Cooperstown, New York. Cooper’s father, descended from English Quakers, expressed enlightened ideas about developing wilderness lands in his A Guide in the Wilderness (1810). William Cooper and Cooperstown became models for Judge Temple and Templeton in The Pioneers. The Coopers moved to Cooperstown in 1790, and Cooper grew up there as the son of the...
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Novelist, social critic, historian, and myth maker, James Fenimore Cooper was perhaps the most productive and versatile American writer of his generation. In his comparatively short literary career, from 1820 to 1851, he published thirty-three substantial fictional works, three books of explicit social and political commentary, five travel works, a monumental history of the United States Navy, a book of naval biographies, and an impressive quantity of miscellaneous writing, much of it anonymous and some of it still unknown to scholars. His purpose as man and author, as he declared it, was the intellectual independence of his country, whose thought and art were, he believed, too much dominated by foreign models; his bold...
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James Fenimore Cooper (the Fenimore was added to his name in 1826) was born on September 15, 1789, in Burlington, New Jersey. The twelfth of thirteen children born to William and Elizabeth (Fenimore) Cooper, James was only fourteen months old when his father moved the family to Cooperstown, a village he had founded on Otsego Lake, the source of the Susquehanna River and the model for Glimmerglass of the Leatherstocking Tales.
A descendant of English Quakers, William Cooper played a great part in the developing prosperity of the newly settled area and enjoyed the fruits of his hard work. His popularity and wealth allowed James to enjoy many urban comforts during his childhood at Otsego Hall, a beautiful brick mansion....
(The entire section is 1078 words.)