James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper | First Editions

1789 - 1851

James Fenimore Cooper (September 15, 1789 – September 15, 1851) was a prolific and popular American writer of the early 19th century. Moreover, Cooper was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church and, in his later years, contributed generously to it. Fans of Cooper may be interested to know that he attended Yale University for three years, where he was a member of the Linonian Society, but was expelled for misbehavior.

Before embarking on his career as a writer, he served in the U.S. Navy as a Midshipman, which greatly influenced many of his novels and other writings. The novel that launched his career was The Spy, a tale about counterespionage set during the Revolutionary War and published in 1821. Cooper also wrote numerous sea stories - of which, his best-known are the five historical novels of the frontier period, known as the Leatherstocking Tales.

Among his most famous works is the Romantic novel The Last of the Mohicans, often regarded as his masterpiece. Cooper's historical romances of frontier and Indian life in the early American days created a unique form of American literature, which remains popular today.

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