James Fenimore Cooper Resources

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)

James Fenimore Cooper, 1822, John Wesley Jarvis

James Fenimore Cooper, 1822, John Wesley Jarvis

Cooper is considered the first fully American novelist – someone who achieved literary success writing about American issues, characters, and settings. He was influenced in his writing by the adventure novels of Sir Walter Scott and succeeded in transferring the major characteristics of the eighteenth-century novel to the entirely different setting of the New World.

James Fenimore Cooper was a prolific and popular author, and his historical romances of frontier and Indian life in the early American days created a unique form of American literature.

Cooper resources on EIL

Learn more about Cooper by exploring these resources from Excellence in Literature:

My Brigantine by Cooper

The Lake Gun by Cooper

Cooper biography from the Cambridge History of American Literature, by Carl Van Doren

Berlioz’s overture Le corsaire rouge, inspired by Cooper’s book Red Rover

Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses by Mark Twain (This is funny; don’t miss it!)

Last, but not least, Cooper has the honor of being mocked (along with other great writers) in “A Fable for Critics” by James Russell Lowell.


When will you read Cooper’s writing in Excellence in Literature?

E3.3 Focus Text: The Last of the Mohicans

E3.3 Honors Text: The Pioneers

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