The Deerslayer [with Biographical Introduction]
His popularity waned after his return to America in from a seven-year absence spent traveling in Europe; upon his return, he criticized the materialism and crassness he saw in America that had changed for the worse. He stirred the ire of Whig newspaper publishers who had always distrusted him and disliked, in particular, his novels Homeward Bound and Home as Found He was variously assailed at different times for being too Jacksonian and hostile to authority, and for being too aristocratic and class conscious.
It is doubtful, however, whether Cooper really felt comfortable with any political party, and his political ideas certainly did not add up to a coherent political philosophy. He was nominally a Jackson Democrat but had a strong distrust of populist sentiments and of demagogues who stirred up the uneducated masses. Although a charming and gregarious man in his youth, Cooper came to be almost a recluse in later years and at times displayed a gift for making enemies. Many of the attacks on Cooper, though, were libelous, for he won the suits he instituted.
Cooper was wedded to his upstate New York region but was also a cosmopolitan who traveled widely; he was a romantic spinner of tales but also a realist who closely observed social mores, manners, and class status even in his novels set in the wilderness. Cooper was an optimist but one with a paranoid streak and a dark side. He lived mostly in the company of women but wrote mostly about men, male friendships, and heroes who broke free of or who never knew the bonds of domesticity.
Cooper was as hard a man to understand for his contemporaries as he is for us now. Was he a reactionary or a man ahead of his times, an apologist for white America or a champion of Native Americans? Did he affirm the conquest of the wilderness or was he an early ecologist? He was, indeed, a cultural icon in a broad sense. His fiction redefined the past for the country, invented the idea of the Western frontier, and gave Americans a mythic sense of themselves and their destiny.
He was a patron of the visual arts. His interest in the Navy was genuine and was grounded in firsthand experience, and he was familiar with many of the personages he wrote about in The History of the Navy of the United States of America , which was a classic study of its kind. Moreover, Cooper did much to fashion and to expand the popular audience for his novels and for the writers who followed him.
His works were issued and reissued after his death. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book!
The Deerslayer (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Paperback)
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Be always fair. When war breaks out, and Hurry and Tom are captured by Indians, Deerslayer must go on his first warpath to rescue them. Bruce L. He is the author or editor of sixteen scholarly books, and he continues to lecture widely in the United States and abroad. About the Author The creator of two genres that became staples of American literature — the sea romance and the frontier adventure — James Fenimore Cooper was born in New Jersey, raised in the wilderness of New York, and spent five years at sea before embarking on his successful writing career.
Date of Birth: September 15, Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Deerslayer , please sign up. Should I start the series with this book or read The Last of the Mohicans first? Brent Ranalli Deerslayer comes first chronologically but was written much later. And in my opinion and plenty of others it is not nearly as good a piece of …more Deerslayer comes first chronologically but was written much later.
And in my opinion and plenty of others it is not nearly as good a piece of writing. Kind of like Star Wars. See 2 questions about The Deerslayer…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Aug 29, Werner rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: All fans of 19th-century fiction. Shelves: historical-fiction , classics. Though this book was the last of the Leatherstocking Tales series which follows the life of backwoods hunter and scout Natty Bumpo --"Leatherstocking" and "Deerslayer" are two of the several nicknames he'll bear during his career to be written, it's actually the first in the internal chronology of the series, set in at the outbreak of King George's War.
This was one of several English vs. N Though this book was the last of the Leatherstocking Tales series which follows the life of backwoods hunter and scout Natty Bumpo --"Leatherstocking" and "Deerslayer" are two of the several nicknames he'll bear during his career to be written, it's actually the first in the internal chronology of the series, set in at the outbreak of King George's War. Neither the date or the name of the war are explicitly given in the book, but enough clues are supplied to make them clear.
More Books by James Fenimore Cooper
Having read two books of the series out of order, as a grade-school and junior-college student, I'd resolved, after this long hiatus, to finally read the whole corpus, in as close to the internal order as I could. Now that I've finished this one, my only regret is that I waited so long; it's the best of Cooper's works that I've read yet. The cover copy of this Bantam classic printing not the same edition Goodreads depicts above characterizes this as Cooper's masterpiece.
Since I've only read three of his other novels, I can't say for certain if that's true; but I think it well may be. We first meet the roughly year-old Natty here about to arrive at Lake Otsego, in the New York Appalachian mountains just about due west of Albany the later site of the real-life settlement of Cooperstown, where the author grew up. An orphan raised by the Delaware Indians how that came about isn't explained in this book , he's on his way to meet his Indian friend Chingachgook on an at first undisclosed errand, and traveling in company with slightly-older trapper Henry "Hurry Harry" March, just because they're bound for the same place.
Introduction | The Deerslayer Wikipedia | GradeSaver
It's a situation already fraught with danger and suspense, because the recent outbreak of war makes isolated settlers like these probable targets for bands of the Indian allies of the French. The main events of the story except for a sort of epilogue --which Cooper handles here much better than he does in The Spy take place in less than the span of a week; but an enormous amount of adventure and moral trial and growth happens in that span. All of the author's works I'd read previously were early ones; this is a much more mature work, and it shows.
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Cooper's diction here isn't any more elaborate and orotund than that of most Romantic-era fiction and that's also the case with The Spy ; I'm beginning to think the fulsomeness of The Last of the Mohicans is more unique to that work than a general defect of Cooper's style. His approach to story telling, to be sure, is slow and deliberate; he uses big words if they serve his purpose, constructs complex sentences, and isn't afraid of occasional direct address to the reader.
But those features don't bother me; and the story he tells is absorbing even suspenseful and tense , well-constructed, and emotionally powerful; this is Romantic historical fiction at its finest. Moreover, it's the vehicle for profound moral and spiritual reflection, which is built into the fabric of the story and animates it as naturally as blood and breath animate the human body. That aspect is more pronounced here than in any other Cooper novel I've read, and that's what elevates it into five-star territory.
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Both Balzac and James Russell Lowell in the latter's satirical poem "Cooper," one of several literary criticisms he wrote in poetic form of other authors of his day fault Cooper as not being particularly sharp in his characterizations. Although despite that, Balzac rated him highly overall. Lowell was particularly caustic about Cooper's female characters, deeming them all "sappy" and "flat," and essentially indistiguishable. But by now, I've read enough of Cooper to judge this for myself, and to a degree rebut it --and no Cooper novel furnishes as much grist for a rebuttal as this one, because ALL of the important characters here are sharply-drawn and distinguished, and come alive with considerable reality.
We get more of a sense of Natty's inner character here than we do in either of the first two books of the series to be written, and I'd say that's true of Chingachgook as well. Judith Hutter is anything but "sappy" or "flat," and Hetty is sui generis. Some of Cooper's women deserve Lowell's stricture --Alice in The Last of the Mohicans comes to mind; but that's mainly because she's overshadowed by Cora, who's another exception to the charge; and Frances Wharton in The Spy is yet another. And there's no Cooper novel I've read that's without some distinctively drawn and memorable male characters, as well.