James Cooper

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Date Submitted: 12/03/2012 09:32 AM

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James Fenimore Cooper was born September 15, 1789 in Burlington, New Jersey. He was raised in the lakeside community of Cooperstown, New York. Cooperstown was named for his father, William Cooper. He was the eleventh of twelve children born to William and Elizabeth Cooper. James went to Yale University at the age of 13, for three years, but was expelled for misbehavior (Lounsbury 7-8). Cooper served in the U.S. Navy from 1808 to 1811 (Clymer 6). He was a Midshipman. During his Navy career he had the chance to explore the area around Lake Ontario. This area became the inspiration for the story "The Pathfinder" (Lounsbury 11) He settled in upstate New York, intending to become a gentleman farmer. On January 1, 1811, at age twenty one, he married Susan Augusta de Lancey (Clymer 12).

Cooper wrote his first novel, PRECAUTION, in 1820 as a bet with his wife. It received little critical praise. His next novel was THE SPY (1821), a story about families during the Revolutionary War. Its immediate success encouraged Cooper to devote himself to writing. He moved his family to New York City. In 1823 he published the first of what became known as the Leatherstocking Tails, THE PIONEER. With this story, he created the first American novel and first fictional hero. He also showed the difficulties of natural right versus legal right. He showed in his writing order verses change and wilderness versus civilization (Evans). Cooper wrote the next Leatherstocking Tail in 1826. It became one of the most widely read novels from the 19th century of American literature. THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS was the last novel Cooper wrote before moving his family to Paris, France for seven years (Evans). James Cooper wrote many novels and other literary works during his life time.

The Leatherstocking Tails consisted of five novels. When placed in the order of the hero's life, they are THE DEERSLAYER (1841), THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1826), THE PATHFINDER (1840), THE PIONEERS (1823), and THE...