Entry updated 28 June 2021. Tagged: Author.
(1789-1851) US author, best known for the Leather-Stocking Tales sequence in a gentlemanly frontier-adventure tale style, which includes The Last of the Mohicans (1826) and many other widely read novels featuring the woodsman Natty Bumppo; he also wrote several Gothic tales containing supernatural elements, like the broad hints that the protagonist of The Spy, a Tale of the Neutral Ground (1821 2vols) may be the Wandering Jew. In Cooper's sf novel, The Monikins: A Tale (1835 3vols), an English "gentleman" purchases several captured citizens of an articulate monkey civilization (see Apes as Human; Imperialism; Slavery) located in the Leap Islands Archipelago abutting Antarctica; the several islands comprise together a Lost World whose Colour-Coded inhabitants tolerate a government whose main role seems to be to shape and monitor opinion, in a manner clearly Satirical of European civilization [for Colour-Coding see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. The "gentleman" is so impressed by their account that he returns to the Leap Islands with his prisoners, only to find – as in other Proto-SF tales of this sort – that he has been dreaming (see Clichés).
Mark's Reef; Or, the Crater: A Tale of the Pacific (1847 3 volumes UK; vt The Crater, or Vulcan's Peak: A Tale of the Pacific 1847 2vols) is a Robinsonade set on the variously named volcanic reef or Island where – after shipwreck and travails, and the reappearance of Mark's lost companion with his wife and family – a so-called Utopia is created, though it is clear that its egalitarian reformist precepts are treated Satirically; the island eventually sinks. [JC]
James Fenimore Cooper
born Burlington, New Jersey: 15 September 1789
died Cooperstown, New York: 14 September 1851
- The Spy, a Tale of the Neutral Ground (New York: Wiley and Halsted, 1821) [published in two volumes: hb/]
- The Monikins: A Tale (London: Richard Bentley, 1835) anonymous [published in three volumes: hb/]
- The Monikins; Edited by the Author of "The Spy" (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Carey, Lea, and Blanchard, 1835) [vt of the above: published in two volumes: the binding for European distribution of this title gives Cooper on spine: hb/]
- Mark's Reef, or The Crater: A Tale of the Pacific (London: Richard Bentley, 1847) [published in three volumes: hb/]
- The Crater, Or Vulcan's Peak: A Tale of the Pacific (New York: Burgess, Stringer and Co, 1847) [vt of the above: published in two volumes: hb/]
- The Crater, Or Vulcan's Peak (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press/The Belknap Press, 1982) [vt of the above: critical edition: edited by Thomas Philbrick: hb/]
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