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James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years Hardcover – June 19, 2007

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James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years + A Historical Guide to James Fenimore Cooper (Historical Guides to American Authors)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; First Edition edition (June 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300108052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300108057
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Scholars long expected the first full biography of James Fenimore Cooper to come from James Beard, named the author's literary executor 50 years ago. But, absorbed in editing Cooper's work, Beard finished only fragments of such a biography before his death, in 1989. Fortunately, Franklin has stepped into the breach. In this deeply satisfying first volume of a definitive biography, Franklin develops a nuanced portrait that exposes the falsity of popular caricatures. Mark Twain's wickedly funny attack on Cooper, for instance, loses credibility as readers learn how Cooper single-handedly invented novelistic genres (including the western and the sea tale) in books gratefully praised by Melville and Conrad. Even in the defects of Cooper's work, Franklin discerns a heroic response to the challenge of commercial authorship in culturally backward America. Although acknowledging that debt drove Cooper to write too fast, Franklin still lauds the novelist for fiction that captures the tensions of a turbulent society in the making. Ending with Cooper's departure for Europe in 1826, this volume profoundly enriches our understanding of how the young writer helped forge our national mythology in works such as The Last of the Mohicans and The Pioneers. Appreciative readers will eagerly await the second and concluding volume. Christensen, Bryce


"Wayne Franklin single-handedly restores Cooper to his rightful place in American literature. . . . A towering achievement."—H. Daniel Peck, author of Thoreau's Morning Work         
(H. Daniel Peck)

“No one has ever written a biography of Cooper that answers as many questions, raises as many important historical issues, or provides as much detail of the life of Cooper and his family or of much of New York history in the late eighteenth century or the first half of the nineteenth century. The publication of Franklin’s biography is a major event.”—Jeffrey Walker, Oklahoma State University 
(Jeffrey Walker)

"A remarkable feat of scholarship and literary imagining. . . . Franklin's book is meticulously researched and wonderfully comprehensive. A biography of this subtlety of depth has been well worth waiting for."—Hugh Egan, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
(Hugh Egan Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 2007-09-01)

"The biography is an engaging, well written account of an important time, place, and career in American literary history. It surprises, informs, and challenges the reader, and should be on the reading list of any early or nineteenth-century Americanist."—Rocky Mountain Review
(Rocky Mountain Review 2008-12-01)

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Patrick Killough on August 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"James Cooper" he was born and named in 1789. "James FENIMORE Cooper" he was renamed by the New York Legislature in 1836. He died in 1855. In JAMES FENIMORE COOPER: THE EARLY YEARS, University of Connecticut Professor of English Wayne Franklin takes his subject from birth to departure with family for seven years in Europe in 1826. Still only 36 years old when he sailed from Manhattan June 1, 1836, the young author had just published THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS The Last of the Mohicans (Tantor Unabridged Classics), his sixth novel. Its five predecessors, beginning in 1820 were PRECAUTION Precaution, THE SPY The Spy, THE PIONEERS The Pioneers (Signet Classics), THE PILOT The pilot: a tale of the sea. By James Fenimore Cooper. Illustrated from drawings by F. O. C. Darley. AND LIONEL LINCOLN Lionel Lincoln (The Works of James Fenimore Cooper: Mohawk Edition). He had also issued TALES FOR FIFTEEN Imagination and Heart, Tales for Fifteen, a book of short stories, under the pseudonym Jane Morgan.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary Belknap on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Through his vivid descriptions of the life and times of James Fenimore Cooper, the author of this biography helps us to understand the motivations, prejudices and sheer economic terror of living in New York State in the early 19th century. Cooper began writing popular literature to save his family's farm during a mortgage-lending crisis not unlike our present problem. That Cooper evolved into a writer who tackled issues of race, religion and defining the American spirit is a credit to his ability to push readers beyond the typical popular literature of his day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought for a school project, I would recommend it though it was a good read.
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