James Fenimore Cooper Essay

James Fenimore Cooper Essay

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James Fenimore Cooper was one of the pioneers in American novel writing. Cooper used the life and things he had experienced and turned them into best-selling novels that have held up throughout the years. He became famous with the publication of the wilderness adventures. Along with the success these books brought, so to came some criticism. To truly understand Coopers books you have to delve deeply into them and know from where he got the ideas for the stories.
James Fenimore Cooper was born in Burlington, New Jersey on September 15th 1789 (“James Fenimore Cooper,” American Eras, n.p.). He was the eleventh child of William Cooper and Elizabeth Fenimore Cooper, whom he would later adopt part of his name from. His father was a land speculator, judge and Federalist politician (“James Fenimore Cooper”, DISCovering Biography, n.p.). In the early years of Fenimore Cooper’s life the family relocated from Burlington to the wilderness of Ostego Lake, New York. There, William Cooper built Ostego hall and developed the surrounding area as Cooperstown (“JFC”, DISCovering Biography, n.p.).
     In 1803 James Fenimore Cooper entered Yale at the tender age of thirteen years. However his immaturity proved to be consequential as he was expelled for blowing up a classmate’s door with gunpowder (“JFC”, DISCovering Biography, n.p.). After his expulsion, presumably as a consequence for his actions, Cooper joined the Navy and sailed aboard the Stirling. On the ship he was witness to many adventures such as pursuit by pirates and British impressments of U.S. sailors (JFC, DISCovering Biography, n.p.).
     In December of 1809 William Cooper died. However upon his death, he left James Cooper a large sum of money ($50,000). This money did not all go into Cooper’s pocket as he had to use some of it to care for his siblings (JFC, DISCovering Biography, n.p.). In May of the next year James would request a twelve-month break from the Navy to tend to family business. In his time from the Navy, Cooper met Susan Augusta DeLancey, the daughter of a country squire. They would marry on January 1, 1811 (JFC, DISCovering Biography, n.p.).
     Cooper was an avid reader in his early adulthood. After reading a few pages of Jane Austen’s Precaution, he threw the book down in disgust and is claimed to have said, “I coul...


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...Criticism (210). Maulsby disagrees that the story fails to arrive at a conclusion. To him, Deerslayer is the account of a mission undertaken by a hero and the mission is completed in the end. It was good to see someone defend against Twains critical attacks on Coopers style (Maulsby, 210-211).
     In all of Coopers books there is a very vivid depiction of the surroundings writes W.C. Brownell in Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (214). The setting really becomes part of the stories that wouldn’t be the same if there were a remotely different setting. Cooper had extensive exposure in the two types of settings he wrote in, wilderness and nautical, which probably facilitated the process of describing the surroundings.
     To think that James Fenimore Cooper was an always cheerful, always upbeat man who wrote well received novels would be incorrect. He managed to insult people on both sides of the Atlantic and still achieve stardom. Cooper was disliked by the common person and the author alike; despite the way people disliked Cooper the man, they could not attack his novels as he was considered the first great American Novelist.

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