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James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851)

Author of The Last of the Mohicans

436+ Works 27,220 Members 299 Reviews 28 Favorited

About the Author

James Fenimore Cooper, acclaimed as one of the first American novelists, was born in Burlington, N.J., on September 15, 1789. When he was one year old, his family moved to Cooperstown, N.Y., which was founded by his father. Cooper attended various grammar schools in Burlington, Cooperstown, and show more Albany, and entered Yale University in 1803 at the age of 13. In 1806, Cooper was expelled from Yale for pushing a rag with gunpowder under a classmate's door, causing it to explode. He then spent some time as a merchant seaman and served as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy from 1808-1811. In 1811, Cooper married Susan De Lancey, and lived the life of a country gentleman until one day in 1820. Cooper and his wife were reading a book together. When Cooper told Susan that he could write a better book than the one they were reading, she challenged him to do so. Thus began his career as an author, with Precaution (first published anonymously). Cooper is known for writing more than 50 works under his own name, Jane Morgan, and Anonymous. His works included fiction, nonfiction, history, and travel sketches. He gained insight for his travel works while the Cooper family lived in Europe from 1826 to 1833. Cooper is best known for the novel The Last of The Mohicans, which has been made into several motion picture adaptations, the most recent starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawkeye. The Last of the Mohicans is part of The Leatherstocking Tales, which includes the other novels, The Pioneers, The Deerslayer, and The Pathfinder. Hawkeye, whose given name is Nathaniel Bumpo, is a recurring character in the series which accurately chronicles early American pioneering life and events during the French and Indian War. In 1851, Cooper developed a liver condition, dying on September 14th of that year, just one day before his 62nd birthday. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: George Henry Durrie self-portrait


Works by James Fenimore Cooper

The Last of the Mohicans (1826) — Author — 13,317 copies
The Deerslayer (1841) 2,850 copies
The Pathfinder (1840) 1,437 copies
The Prairie (1827) 1,095 copies
The Spy (1821) 788 copies
The Leatherstocking Tales (1985) 379 copies
The Pilot (1824) 315 copies
The Pilot / The Red Rover (1991) 280 copies
The Wild West (1993) 216 copies
The Red Rover (1828) — Author — 200 copies
The Wing-and-Wing or Le Feu-Follet (1842) — Author — 138 copies
The Two Admirals (1842) 106 copies
The Water-Witch or, the Skimmer of the Seas (1830) — Author — 103 copies
Satanstoe (1852) — Author — 95 copies
The Crater (1847) — Author — 67 copies
The Spy / Lionel Lincoln (2018) — Author — 62 copies
Home as Found (1860) 60 copies
Afloat and Ashore (1851) — Author — 60 copies
Precaution (1820) 60 copies
The Chainbearer Or, The Littlepage Manuscripts (1845) — Author — 57 copies
The Sea Lions (1860) — Author — 55 copies
The Bravo (1831) — Author — 53 copies
The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish (1859) — Author — 52 copies
Homeward Bound (1869) 49 copies
The Redskins (1846) — Author — 48 copies
Jack Tier (1881) — Author — 47 copies
The Oak Openings, or The Bee Hunter (1848) — Author — 47 copies
Wyandotte (1855) — Author — 41 copies
The Ways of the Hour (1850) — Author — 40 copies
The Monikins (1860) 40 copies
The Headsman (1833) — Author — 39 copies
Lionel Lincoln (1825) — Author — 35 copies
Miles Wallingford (1857) 33 copies
The Last of the Mohicans / The Prairie (1992) — Author — 31 copies
The Heidenmauer (1880) — Author — 29 copies
Mercedes of Castile (1873) — Author — 27 copies
Pages and pictures (1865) 16 copies
Works of J. Fenimore Cooper (1823) 16 copies
Wyandotte / The Monikins / Jack Tier (1835) — Author — 13 copies
The Last Of The Mohicans / The Prairie / The Spy (1821) — Author — 13 copies
New York (1864) 13 copies
The Pilot / The Red Rover / The Two Admirals (1824) — Author — 13 copies
The Deerslayer / The Pathfinder / The Pioneers (1823) — Author — 11 copies
Recollections of Europe (2007) 10 copies
The Crater / Miles Wallingford / Homeward Bound (1838) — Author — 9 copies
Home As Found / The Chainbearer / The Redskins (1838) — Author — 8 copies
The Lake Gun (2009) 8 copies
The Last of the Mohicans [adapted - Saddleback Classics] (2001) — Original Writer — 7 copies
La Sentimulo (Facila Esperanto) — Author — 6 copies
The Wild West (Great American Writers Series) (1989) — Author — 5 copies
The Bravo / Mercedes of Castile (1880) — Author — 5 copies
Lucie Hardinge (2015) 5 copies
Old Ironsides (2008) 5 copies
The Deerslayer Part 1 Of 2 (1983) — Author — 5 copies
The Last of the Mohicans (2013) 4 copies
Le lac Ontario (2014) 3 copies
The Pathfinder / The Pioneers / The Prairie (1975) — Author — 3 copies
The Eclipse (1831) 3 copies
Ojo de halcón 2 copies
Eclipse (2013) 2 copies
The Last of the Mohicans — Author — 2 copies
Precaution / The Ways of the Hour — Author — 2 copies
Les pionniers tome 2 (1956) 2 copies
La pradera 2 copies
The Last of the Mohicans, V. 2 — Author — 2 copies
The Water-Witch / The Crater — Author — 2 copies
Der Lederstrumpf (1992) 2 copies
Der alte Trapper. (1927) 2 copies
The Two Admirals / Jack Tier (1880) — Author — 2 copies
Letters and journals (1974) 2 copies
The Headsman / The Heidenmauer — Author — 2 copies
Romanzi 1 copy
Pren 1 copy
Der Wildtöter (2019) 1 copy
Le dernier des Mohicans (2010) — Auteur illustré — 1 copy
L'ultimo dei mohicani (1991) 1 copy
Hutted Knoll 1 copy
Útmutató 1 copy
Indiánova pomsta (1992) 1 copy
Works (2019) 1 copy
Az utolsmohik (2002) 1 copy
Mohikanlarin Sonu (2015) 1 copy
Stanstoe 1 copy
The Piolt 1 copy
The Pilot / The Two Admirals — Author — 1 copy
Satanstoe / The Chainbearer — Author — 1 copy
Los primeros plantadores — Author — 1 copy

Associated Works

The Last of the Mohicans [1992 film] (1992) — Original novel — 474 copies
The Spy's Bedside Book (1957) — Contributor — 358 copies
Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology (2004) — Contributor — 298 copies
Writing New York: A Literary Anthology (1998) — Contributor — 282 copies
The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume 1 (1990) — Contributor, some editions — 256 copies
The Portable Conservative Reader (1982) — Contributor — 211 copies
Great Stories of the Sea & Ships (1940) — Contributor — 174 copies
World's Great Adventure Stories (1929) — Contributor — 75 copies
Pirates & Ghosts Short Stories (Gothic Fantasy) (2017) — Cover artist — 55 copies
Colonial Horrors: Sleepy Hollow and Beyond (2017) — Contributor — 51 copies
Marvel Illustrated: The Last of the Mohicans (2008) — Contributor — 49 copies
American gothic : An anthology 1787–1916 (1999) — Contributor — 26 copies
American Literature: The Makers and the Making (In Two Volumes) (1973) — Contributor, some editions — 25 copies
Classic American Short Stories [2016] (2012) — Contributor — 12 copies
International Short Stories American (Volume 1) (1910) — Contributor — 11 copies
More Classic American Short Stories (2007) — Contributor — 9 copies
The Last of the Mohicans [1936 film] (1936) — Original novel — 8 copies
Representative American Short Stories — Contributor — 5 copies
Famous Stories of Five Centuries (1934) — Contributor — 4 copies
The princess's story book — Contributor — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Cooper, James Fenimore
Legal name
Cooper, James Fenimore
Other names
Cooper, James F.
Date of death
Burial location
Christ Churchyard, Cooperstown, New York, USA
Burlington, New Jersey, USA
Place of death
Cooperstown, New Jersey, USA
Places of residence
Ostego Hall, Cooperstown, New York, USA
Cooperstown, New York, USA
New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Westchester County, New York, USA
Scarsdale, New York, USA
New York, New York, USA (show all 7)
Lyon, France
Albany Academy for Boys
Yale College
Cooper, Paul Fenimore (great-grandson)
Woolson, Constance Fenimore (great-niece)
Lafayette, Marquis de (friend)
Morse, Samuel (friend)
Cooper Jr., James Fenimore (great-grandson)
Cooper, Susan Fenimore (daughter)
United States Navy
Awards and honors
The Hall of Fame for Great Americans (1910)
Short biography
James Fenimore Cooper (September 15, 1789 – September 14, 1851) was an American writer of the first half of the 19th century. His historical romances depicting frontier and Native American life from the 17th to the 19th centuries created a unique form of American literature. He lived much of his boyhood and the last fifteen years of life in Cooperstown, New York, which was founded by his father William on property that he owned. Cooper became a member of the Episcopal Church shortly before his death and contributed generously to it. He attended Yale University for three years, where he was a member of the Linonian Society.

After a stint on a commercial voyage, Cooper served in the U.S. Navy as a midshipman, where he learned the technology of managing sailing vessels which greatly influenced many of his novels and other writings. The novel that launched his career was The Spy, a tale about espionage set during the American Revolutionary War and published in 1821. He also created American sea stories. His best-known works are five historical novels of the frontier period, written between 1823 and 1841, known as the Leatherstocking Tales, which introduced the iconic American frontier scout, Natty Bumppo. Cooper's works on the U.S. Navy have been well received among naval historians, but they were sometimes criticized by his contemporaries. Among his most famous works is the Romantic novel The Last of the Mohicans, often regarded as his masterpiece. Throughout his career, he published numerous social, political, and historical works of fiction and non-fiction with the objective of countering European prejudices and nurturing an original American art and culture.



Leatherstocking Tales in Easton Press Collectors (April 2023)
Correspondence of James Fenimore-Cooper in Book talk (September 2021)


Before Melville's Moby Dick appeared, Cooper's Sea Tales such as "The Pilot" & "Red Rover" caught the eye of readers who impressed them with tales of the sea with the background of the American Revolution. His knowledge of the sea sets him apart in using sea life of those who challenged the uncertainties of the ocean. Cooper's characters he presented as those who were shaped by the ever changing nature of sea life beset by dangers & character building.
walterhistory | 1 other review | Apr 24, 2024 |
If you're interested in reading this book thinking you'll be getting the same hustle and bustle as the audacious Michael Mann film accompanied by a rousing soundtrack, think again. Though the descriptions are pictorial and painstaking (if that's what you're looking for), they are too long-winded and tedious to the point that they lose their effect and fail to enchant the reader. The plot is a bit silly at times, though it pretends to be serious, with all the captures, recaptures, back-stabbings and melodramatic death sequences that seem to happen at random and just don't seem to satisfy the way the film does (though it be just as exaggerated, it does so knowing it's being cheesy). This book may have been considered "adventuresome" in the early 1800s, but it just doesn't hold well today.… (more)
TheBooksofWrath | 124 other reviews | Apr 18, 2024 |
This is Cooper's second entry in the five volume Leatherstocking series. Hawkeye, the fearless warrior, trapper and guide along with his Mohican friend, Chingachgook, fights bad Indians represented in this novel by the Hurons and their chief, Magua. The tile comes from the fact that Chingachgook's son, Uncas, is the last Mohican if he or his father is killed.

While the descriptions of terrain and people are lengthy and in some instances of action, I had to read some paragraphs several times to be sure I understood what actually had taken place. The famous massacre at Fort William Henry was graphically described and Cooper lays the blame at the feet of General Montcalm for not controlling his native allies.… (more)
lamour | 124 other reviews | Jan 29, 2024 |
Well I finally finished the book. If I had to listen to Natty Bumpo talk anymore about red gifts and white man gifts and being a white Christian, I think I would have thrown the book across the room. Was it a bad book? Not necessarily. Was it a good book? No. Do I know that I should take in to account the time period when it was written? I do know that. But still! It doesn't mean you can separate your present day thoughts and understanding from the story. If I could take all that out and just focus on the descriptions of the natural setting, the action scenes, and anything else.. it wouldn't be a bad book. It would also be a lot shorter. Read this book with a grain of salt.

The question now, for me as a reader, is do I go on and read The Last of the Mohicans to see if the movie with Daniel Day-Lewis is actually better than the book? That my friends is the question.
… (more)
wvlibrarydude | 31 other reviews | Jan 14, 2024 |


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