ⓘ James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper

ⓘ James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper was an American writer. He created the character of Natty Bumpo, the archetypal American frontiersman.


1. Early life

Cooper was born on September 15, 1789 in Burlington, New Jersey. His father was a United States Congressman. James Fenimore was one year old when his family moved to Cooperstown, New York. The community was started by his father.

Cooper was 13 when he began attending Yale University. He was kicked out for playing pranks. He blew up another students door. He also taught a donkey to sit in a professors chair.


2. Naval career and marriage

Cooper got a job as a seaman on a merchant ship. He joined the United States Navy at age 18. He became a midshipman, but left the Navy in 1811.

Cooper married Susan DeLancey when he was 21. They had seven children. Five lived to be adults. The first-born survivor, Susan Fenimore Cooper, became a writer and naturalist.


3. Writing career

Precaution was Coopers first book. It was published anonymously in 1820. In 1823, he published The Pioneers. This book was the first of the Leatherstocking novels. These stories became famous for the fictional character of an American woodsman called Natty Bumppo. Coopers most famous novel Last of the Mohicans was published in 1826. It became one of the most widely read American novels of the 19th century.

In 1826, Cooper moved his family to Europe. He wanted to make more money as an author. He also wanted to give his children a better education. He continued to write. His books published in Paris include The Red Rover and The Water Witch. These were novels about the sea. His books began taking a political angle. These books are forgotten today. He returned to the United States in 1833.


4. Last years

Cooper moved back to his ancestral home Otsego Hall in Cooperstown. His writing continued in a political vein. His readers did not like this. He returned to fiction books with The Pathfinder and The Deerslayer. These books continued the story of Natty Bumppo. Cooper spent his last years in Cooperstown. He died on September 14, 1851.


5. Other websites

  • "James Fenimore Cooper". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  • James Fenimore Cooper at Open Library
  • James Fenimore Cooper Society Website
  • Works by or about James Fenimore Cooper in libraries WorldCat catalog
  • James Fenimore Cooper at C-SPANs American Writers: A Journey Through History
  • Thomas R. Lounsbury: James Fenimore Cooper. 6th Edition. Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1886 American Men of Letters. PDF from the Arno Schmidt Reference Library
  • Essay on Fenimore Cooper: Works in biographical/historical context
  • The Cambridge History of American Literature, Book II, Chapter VI, Fiction I: Brown, Cooper
  • James Fenimore Cooper Society Homepage
  • James Fenimore Cooper on IMDb
  • Works by James Fenimore Cooper at Project Gutenberg multiple formats
  • Works by or about James Fenimore Cooper at Internet Archive scanned books original editions color illustrated