Open main menu

A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Cooper, James Fenimore

< A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature

Cooper, James Fenimore (1789-1851). -- Novelist, b. at Burlington, New Jersey, and ed. at Yale Coll., he in 1808 entered the U.S. Navy, in which he remained for 3 years, an experience which was of immense future value to him as an author. It was not until 1821 that his first novel, Precaution, appeared. Its want of successpage 95 did not discourage him, and in the next year (1822), he produced The Spy, which at once gained him a high place as a story-teller. He wrote over 30 novels, of which may be mentioned The Pioneers (1823), The Pilot (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Prairie (1826), The Red Rover (1831), The Bravo (1840), The Pathfinder, The Deerslayer (1841), The Two Admirals (1842), and Satanstoe (1845). He also wrote a Naval History of the United States (1839). C. was possessed of remarkable narrative and descriptive powers, and could occasionally delineate character. He had the merit of opening up an entirely new field, and giving expression to the spirit of the New World, but his true range was limited, and he sometimes showed a lack of judgment in choosing subjects with which he was not fitted to deal. He was a proud and combative but honest and estimable man.