The Deerslayer | James Fenimore Cooper




-         1789-1851

-         “a fine looking man, with a large manly figure, rather tall and stout, with a full broad forehead, strong features, lips full, firm and determined, with large, clear, gray eyes.”

-         Mark Twain – Cooper wrote best about Indians he really did not know

-         Born into Burlington, NJ into home of a wealthy judge but grows up in western part of the state (contrast with Irving, who grew up in NYC)

-         When 14, family settles into new community father is founding -- Cooperstown, NY

-         Father, William, was a staunch Federalist who served two terms in Congress

-         Raised Episcopal

-         Goes to Yale, but kicked out after only one year for a prank

-         Outdoorsman, brusque, always sure of his opinions

-         A Patriot first, last, and always

-         Knew most of NY state history by heart

-         Serves in American Navy from 1809 until 1812, when he marries propertied Susan Delancy

-         Due to his wealth, he has time to write

-         Read aloud to his wife and children, throws down book and says, “I could write a better book.” Wife says, “Let’s see you do it.” – and he did – begins first novel at age 30 and wrote 33 novels in 30 years

-         Most widely read author of the 19th century

-         Present at dedication of Erie Canal

-         Cooper is the first national American writer; creates the American frontier hero

-         One author said Cooper’s heroes are the knights of medieval romances transferred to the American frontier


The Deerslayer


-         Tells of events in the life of the scout Natty Bumpo

-         Written in 1841/42, tells of his early adventures with Huron Indians from 1740-1745 – one of five volumes that takes NB up through 1804