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  • Published: 27 November 2018
  • ISBN: 9781598535822
  • Imprint: Library of America
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 874
  • RRP: $67.99

James Fenimore Cooper

Two Novels of the American Revolution (LOA #312)




The American Revolution comes to vivid life in two dramatic tales of espionage, intrigue, and romance from the author of The Last of Mohicans.

With his second novel, The Spy:A Tale of the Neutral Ground, in 1821, James Cooper (the Fenimore would come later) found his true voice and what became his most enduring subject matter: the history of his young nation, born of the clash between Old World and New. Set largely in Westchester County--site of the real-life intrigues of Benedict Arnold and Major John Andre--The Spy traces the conflicting allegiances of rebels and loyalists, with the supposed loyalist spy Harvey Birch (actually in the service of George Washington) finding himself caught up in conflicts between friendship and duty as he moves between the two sides. Washington himself makes an incognito appearance as the mysterious "Mr. Harper." Cooper continued in the same vein with Lionel Lincoln; Or, The Leaguer of Boston (1825), a carefully researched panorama of the coming of the Revolution, complete with detailed depictions of the battles of Lexington and Concord and Bunker Hill. With the hero a native-born American serving in the British Army, issues of loyalty are again complex, and some American reviewers, not for the last time, found Cooper's politics a bit too ambiguous for comfort.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

  • Published: 27 November 2018
  • ISBN: 9781598535822
  • Imprint: Library of America
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 874
  • RRP: $67.99

About the author

James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper was born on Septenber 15, 1789, in Burlington, New Jersey, and grew up in the frontier village of Cooperstown, New Yorrk, in the heart of the wilderness he was to immortalize in his frontier novels. A high-spirited youth, he was expelled from Yale because of a prank and was finally signed by the navy by his strong-willed father. In 1819 a trfling incident reportedly led to the writing of his first book. Reading aloud to his wife from a popular English novel, he exclaimed, 'I could write you a better book myself!' The result was Precausion (1820), which followed in 1821 by his first real success, The Spy.

Cooper became a prolific writer, creating two unique genres that were to become staples in American literature–the sea romance and the frontier adventure story. The first of the famous Leatherstocking tales, The Pioneers, appeared in 1823 and introduced the wilderness scout Natty Bumppo. This detailed portrait of frontier life has been called the first truly American novel. In The Last of the Mohicans (1826) Natty Bumppo becomes the well-loved Hawkeye befriended by the noble Indian Chingachgook; the novel remains a favorite American classic. Other Leatherstocking tales were The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840) influenced both Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad and led to the use of the sea novel as vehicle for spiritual and moral explorations. Cooper also wrote political satire, romance, and the meticulously researched History of the Navy of the United States of America (1839). By the time of his death on September 14, 1851, he was considered America's 'national novelist.'

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