The DeerSlayer: Biography: James Fenimore Cooper

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James Fenimore Cooper was born in Burlington, New Jersey in 1789 to Quaker parents. From 1790 to 1801, he was raised in Cooperstown, which was on land owned originally by his father Judge William Cooper and is thought to have been an inspiration for aspects of his work that draw on the experiences of living in a frontier town. He later studied at Yale College, but went on to be excluded for what is thought to be a dangerous practical joke. As a young man, he served in the Navy and later worked as a gentleman farmer. He married in 1811 and his eldest daughter, Susan Fenimore Cooper, also went on to become a recognised writer and naturalist.
In all, he wrote 32 novels. His first was Precaution (1820) and this was followed by The Spy (1821). The five Leather-Stocking Tales are perhaps the best known of his prolific output and are as follows: The Pioneers (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840) and The Deerslayer (1841). Although Deerslayer was written last, it is the first chronologically in the series.
He established a strong reputation both at home and abroad and died in 1851. He is commonly regarded as one of the first popular American novelists, although this popularity waned progressively through the nineteenth century. Mark Twain’s “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses” (1895) exemplifies the criticisms aimed at his work.

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