James Fenimore Cooper 1783-1859

James Fenimore Cooper
1. Father of American novel
2. Maker of the American Myth
3. Preacher of the American individualism
4. First sufferer of the American Dilemma
James Fenomore Cooper
Because of Mr. Cooper,
we began to understand
the American Indians, and the
meaning of the frontier and
American values.
Forests are to Americans as the Yellow River to the Chinese.
A forest in winter, mysterious and beautiful
This is the place where a solitary soul can rest.
Daniel Day Lewis brings
the American past to life.
The American Indians
American Indians
and their cultural
sign: The eagle
American Indians
The noble savages
The frontiersmen in the west
Actors of the movie Patriot at lunch break
A brief introduction to Cooper
• He wrote America’s first utopian novel, historical romance,
frontier novel and sea novel.
• He was the first writer to portrait Indians, frontiersmen and
old salts.
• He made the Americans conscious of their past and the
Europeans conscious of America.
• He was the first writer to realize that a new literature
should be created from the inside, from the feeling to the
• He helped to develop American values: individualism,
freedom in the wilderness, unsophisticated nobleness.
• He moved American literature a step forward
James Fenimore Cooper
The paradox of his life and character
1. A man of action and a professional writer
2. An amateur of letters and enjoying worldwide fame
3. An aristocrat by taste and a spokesman of American
• 4. A writer of frontier stories and a believer of social
• 5. A gentleman farmer and a lover of forests
Cooper’s writing and style
• 1. More imagination than polish, with a slow start
• 2. With landscape and narrowing down to a small group
and/or a solitary person
• 3. Feeling at ease with the lower class
• 4. With a fine ear for dialects
• 5. Exciting scenes: attack, massacre, torture, fight, capture,
rescue and escape
• 6. Delighted in gory details ( scalping)
American literary tradition 1
( Novels)
A white man alone
Mayflower people
American literary tradition 2
1. Natty Bumppo, The Leather Stocking Tales
2. Huck, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
3. Hester, The Scarlet Letter
4. Ishmael, Moby Dick
5. Old man, The Old Man and the Sea
The forest is a place where we feel free and clean.
The prairie
An American Indian girl
Cooper’s works
• The Leatherstocking Tales 皮袜子五部曲
1.The Deerslayer, 1841<猎鹿者>
2. The Last of the Mohicans, 1826<最后一个莫希干人>
3. The Pathfinder, 1840<探路者>
4. The Pioneers, 1823<拓荒者>
5. The Prairie, 1827<大草原>
• The central figure: Natty Bumppo
The prairie harbors the American soul and spirit.