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James Fenimore Cooper

Literary Movement: Romanticism

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  James Fenimore Cooper was one of the greatest Romantics of his time. After writing a plethora of novels, books, a total of 48, and even a play, it can be easily assumed that Cooper had quite a knack for his profession. Cooper was in fact the first author ever to write a series of novels where he carried the main character from young to old age. This series turn out to be a five volume romantic epic about the character. Cooper was also the very first author to write a novel about manners.

   The Romantic Era began in the late 18th century and lasted until mid 19th century. It was a movement in art, literature, music, architecture, and criticism. It followed the Classicism and Neoclassicism movements so therefore it was completely different, almost opposite from these. Classicism and Neoclassicism were known for order and balance and harmony. Romanticism on the other hand was entirely different from that.

    Romanticism embraced the individual. It was all about imaginativeness, spontaneity, emotions and transcendentalism. Romanticism appreciated all of the beautiful things found in nature. Romanticism gave light to the heroes, the geniuses and the supernatural characters that always saved the day. It also emphasized their inner struggles and passions.

   Romanticism gave writers and artists the opportunity to express themselves in a whole new way. Imagination and creativity was key during this era, providing a portal to spiritual truth. Romanticism brought about a deep interest in folk culture as well as national and ethnic cultural origins. The medieval era was also a large point of interest during this time. Artists and writers during this time were just looking for things that were different, interesting and unique. They liked things that could possibly be described by the words weird, exotic, mysterious, monstrous, and diseased.

   Romanticism got its name from the trends that were developing in art and literature during mid 18th century. This period can be considered the Pre-Romanticism era and one of the trends was medieval romance. Most of the works regarding medieval romance were chivalric adventures that focused on heroes, mysteries and exotic things. All of these new concepts defied the former Classicism era. The beginning of this new era promptly began to show how different it was from the former era which was all about order and sophistication.

  James Fenimore Cooper published his first book in 1820. The second stage of Romanticism began in 1805 and lasted through the 1830s. During this time period a new fascination with nationalism, native folklore and national origins began to develop. This is where Cooper came into the picture. Recurrent themes throughout Cooper’s books included American history and the American society, nature, the environment and race.

   This newly discovered appreciation for history paved the way for Cooper’s success. His works included both American fiction and non-fiction. In the non-fiction genre he wrote the first ever History of the Navy of the United States of America. In the fiction genre he created many famous titles such as The Last of the Mohicans. James Fenimore Cooper represented all that Romanticism stood for.

By: Lilibet Aquino

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Lilibet Aquino - Katie Bueno - Alina Gonzalez - Ms. Munnerlyn - Period 6