Synopses & Reviews
Vigorous, self-reliant, amazingly resourceful, and moral, Natty Bumppo is the prototype of the Western hero. A faultless arbiter of wilderness justice, he hates middle-class hypocrisy. But he finds his love divided between the woman he has pledged to protect on a treacherous journey and the untouched forest that sustains him in his beliefs. A fast-paced narrative full of adventure and majestic descriptions of early frontier life, Indian raiders, and defenseless outposts, The Pathfinder set the standard for epic action literature.
“Cooper emphatically belongs to the nation. He has left a space in our literature which will not easily be supplied.”—Washington Irving
“His memory will exist in the hearts of the people...[and his works] should find a place in every American’s library.”—Daniel Webster
Cooper undertakes a "hazardous experiment" of resurrecting one of his most popular characters, for he had killed off Bumppo in his previous incarnation. This book is noted as a classic account of the American wilderness.
Includes bibliographical references (p. [xxix]-xxxi).
About the Author
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) grew up at Otsego Hall, his father’s manorial estate near Lake Otsego in upstate New York. Educated at Yale, he spent five years at sea, as a foremast hand and then as a midshipman in the navy. At thirty he was suddenly plunged into a literary career when his wife challenged his claim that he could write a better book that the English novel he was reading to her. The result was Precaution (1820), a novel of manners. His second book, The Spy (1821), was an immediate success, and with The Pioneers (1823) he began his series of Leatherstocking Tales. By 1826 when The Last of the Mohicans appeared, his standing as a major novelist was clearly established. From 1826 to 1833 Cooper and his family lived and traveled in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany. Two of his most successful works, The Prairie and The Red Rover, were published in 1827. He returned to Otsego Hall in 1834, and after a series of relatively unsuccessful books of essays, travel sketches, and history, he returned to fiction – and to Leatherstocking – with The Pathfinder (1840) and The Deerslayer (1841). In his last decade he faced declining popularity brought on in part by his waspish attacks on critics and political opponents. Just before his death in 1851 an edition of his works led to a reappraisal of his fiction and somewhat restored his reputation as the first of American writers.