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Born:September 15, 1789BurlingtonNew Jersey...(Show more)Died:September 14, 1851 (aged 61)CooperstownNew York...(Show more)Founder:Bread and Cheese Club...(Show more)Awards and also Honors:Hall of fame for great Americans (1910)...(Show more)Movement / Style:Knickerbocker school...(Show more)

James Fenimore Cooper, (born September 15, 1789, Burlington, brand-new Jersey, U.S.—died September 14, 1851, Cooperstown, new York), an initial major American novelist, author of the novels that frontier adventure known as the Leatherstocking Tales, featuring the wilderness scout called Natty Bumppo, or Hawkeye. They encompass The Pioneers (1823), The last of the Mohicans (1826), The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840), and also The Deerslayer (1841).

Early years

Cooper’s mother, Elizabeth Fenimore, was a member of a respectable brand-new Jersey Quaker family, and his father, William, started a frontier settlement at the resource of the Susquehanna flow (now Cooperstown, brand-new York) and also served as a Federalist congressman during the administrations of George Washington and John Adams. It was a most appropriate family background for a writer who, by the time of his death, to be generally taken into consideration America’s “national novelist.”


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James was but a year old when William Cooper moved his family to the primitive negotiation in upstate brand-new York. He to be doubtless fortunate to it is in the 11th the 12 children, because that he to be spared the worst hardships the frontier life when he to be able to benefit educationally native both the affluent oral traditions of his family and also a product prosperity that afforded that a gentleman’s education. After private schooling in Albany, Cooper attend Yale native 1803 come 1805. Small is recognized of his college career various other than the he to be the best Latin scholar that his class and was expelled in his junior year since of a prank. Due to the fact that high spirits appeared to fit him for an active life, his family allowed him to sign up with the navy as a midshipman. But prolonged shore duty at several brand-new York stations simply substituted marine for scholastic discipline. His father’s death in 1809 left him financially independent, and in 1811 that married Susan De Lancy and resigned from the navy.

For 10 year after his marital relationship Cooper led the active but incompetent life that a dilettante, dabbling in agriculture, politics, the American bible Society, and the Westchester militia. It remained in this amateur spirit that he wrote and also published his very first fiction, reputedly ~ above a an obstacle from his wife. Precaution (1820) was a plodding imitation of woman Austen’s novels of English gentry manners. The is mainly exciting today as a document in the history of American social colonialism and as an instance of a clumsy effort to imitate mrs Austen’s examination of the ironic discrepancy between illusion and also reality. His 2nd novel, The Spy (1821), to be based on another British model, sir Walter Scott’s “Waverley” novels, stories of adventure and romance collection in 17th- and 18th-century Scotland. However in The Spy Cooper broke new ground by using an American Revolutionary War setup (based partially on the experience of his wife’s brother loyalist family) and also by introducing several distinctively American personality types. Choose Scott’s novels that Scotland, The Spy is a drama of conflict loyalties and also interests in i beg your pardon the activity mirrors and expresses more subtle internal psychological tensions. The Spy soon carried him global fame and a details amount that wealth. The last was very welcome, without doubt necessary, since his father’s estate had proved much less ample than had actually been thought, and, v the death of his elder brothers, the had uncovered himself responsible for the debts and also widows of the entire Cooper family.


The an initial of the famous Leatherstocking Tales, The Pioneers (1823), followed and adhered to the effective formula of The Spy, reproducing its straightforward thematic conflicts and also utilizing household traditions as soon as again. In The Pioneers, however, the heritages were those of william Cooper the Cooperstown, who shows up as Judge temple of Templeton, together with many various other lightly disguised residents of james boyhood village. No recognized prototype exists, however, for the novel’s major character—the previous wilderness enlightenment Natty Bumppo, alias Leatherstocking. The Leatherstocking of The Pioneers is an aged man, the rough however sterling character, that ineffectually opposes “the in march of progress,” namely, the agricultural frontier and its cook spokesman, judge Temple. Fundamentally, the problem is in between rival execution of the American Eden: the “God’s Wilderness” the Leatherstocking and the grew garden of referee Temple. Because Cooper himself was deeply attracted to both ideals, he was able to produce a powerful and relocating story of frontier life. Indeed, The Pioneers is both the first and ideal detailed portrait the frontier life in American literature; that is additionally the an initial truly original American novel.

Both Cooper and his public to be fascinated by the Leatherstocking character. That was urged to compose a series of sequels in i m sorry the entire life the the frontier reconnaissance was progressively unfolded. The critical of the Mohicans (1826) takes the reader earlier to the French and also Indian wars of Natty’s middle age, as soon as he is in ~ the elevation of his powers. That work-related was prospered by The Prairie (1827) in which, now an extremely old and philosophical, Leatherstocking dies, dealing with the westering sunlight he has actually so lengthy followed. (The 5 novels the the collection were not written in your narrative order.) established from the begin with the vanishing wilderness and its natives, Leatherstocking was an unalterably elegiac figure, wifeless and also childless, hauntingly loyal to a lost cause. This conception that the character to be not completely realized in The Pioneers, however, due to the fact that Cooper’s main issue with depicting frontier life led him come endow Leatherstocking through some comic traits and also make his laments, at times, little an ext than whines or grumbles. But in these sequels Cooper retract stylistically indigenous a realistic snapshot of the frontier in order to portray a much more idyllic and also romantic wilderness; by doing for this reason he could exploit the parallels between the American Indians and also the hope Celtic heroes the James Macpherson’s pseudo-epic Ossian, leave Leatherstocking intact however slightly idealized and making extensive use the Macpherson’s imagery and also rhetoric.

Cooper to plan to ask Leatherstocking in The Prairie, however many years later on he resuscitated the character and portrayed his at an early stage maturity in The Pathfinder (1840) and his youth in The Deerslayer (1841). These novels, in i beg your pardon Natty becomes the centre of romantic attention for the first time, carry the idealization procedure further. In The Pathfinder he is explicitly defined as one American Adam, when in The Deerslayer he demonstrates his fitness together a warrior-saint by pass a series of moral trials and revealing a keen, though untutored, aesthetic sensibility.

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The “Leatherstocking” tales room Cooper’s good imperfect masterpiece, yet he ongoing to write plenty of other volumes of fiction and also nonfiction. His 4th novel, The Pilot (1823), inaugurated a series of sea novels, which were at once as popular and also influential together the “Leatherstocking” tales. And they were more authentic: together Westerners as general Lewis Cass, governor of Michigan Territory, and also Mark Twain might ridicule Cooper’s woodcraft, however old salts like Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad rightly admired and learned indigenous his sea stories, in particular The Red Rover (1827) and also The Sea Lions (1849). Never prior to in prose fiction had the sea end up being not merely a theatre for, however the major actor in, ethical drama that celebrated man’s courage and skill in ~ the very same time that it revealed the humbled through the forces of oh my god nature. As emerged by Cooper, and later by Melville, the sea novel came to be a an effective vehicle for spiritual as well as moral exploration. No satisfied with mere fictional therapy of life in ~ sea, Cooper also wrote a meticulously researched, highly readable History that the marine of the United states of America (1839).