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James Fenimore Cooper

Author Biography


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The Biography of James Fenimore Cooper

      "On the human imagination events produce the effects of time. Thus, he who has traveled far and seen much is apt to fancy that he has lived long; and the history that most abounds in important incidents soonest assumes the aspect of antiquity." (James Fenimore Cooper). James Fenimore Cooper was one of the greatest American Novelists of all time. He was born on September 15, 1789 in Burlington, New Jersey. His parents who's names were Elizabeth Cooper and William Cooper who was the founder of Cooperstown and also a Judge and a representative of congress. Cooper was the twelfth to be born out of thirteen siblings where only seven survived youth. In 1790 they moved to Lake Ostego which is located in New York where his father bought land and founded Cooperstown. He went to school in Cooperstown and Yale which he was expelled from because of various pranks.

     Cooper also joined the Navy and served on the Sterling from 1806 until 1807. His father died in 1809 and he no longer depending on his fathers persuasion to make decisions. He was assigned to recruit sailors in New York City, where he met a life long friend named William Branford Shubrick. In 1810 he met his soon to be wife Susan Augusta De Lancey; they married on December 31, 1811. Due to his fathers death and the loss of all his brothers James was left with an abundance of dept and responsibilities which caused him many financial and personal instabilities.

     How he became a writer is quite an interesting story. He was reading one day to his mother in law who was sick at the time and thought the book was horrible so he threw it aside saying that he could write a better book. As everyone laughed at him he exclaimed and kept saying that he could in fact write a better book. So he did in fact write a tale which was later published as "Precaution." It showed how he was influenced by Amelia Opie.

    By 1826 James Cooper wrote many novels and became very popular; so he moved to Europe with his family for seven years. He also legally added Fenimore to his name. He wrote many novels about the duties of Americans to their country. When he came back from Europe he found himself to be with many lawsuits. So he went to settle in Cooperstown where he had to deal with all the lawsuits against him. He wrote a book that was suppose to be for high school students named "The American Democrat"

   Fenimore wrote many fictitious novels and non fiction novels including his most famous work "The Last of the Mohicans". He also served as a consul for the U.S at Lyons. He is said to be the greatest "American Novelist".

    Fenimore died on September 14, 1851. He died in the town is father founded Cooperstown. He was buried in Christ Episcopal Churchyard and his wife followed him a few months later. James became more influential and recognized after his death. He was very influential too many writers in Europe. Mark Twain criticized his romanticisms. Today, both films and novels are influenced by many of Coopers works.
     Cooper turned out to be quite a legend in literature. He was one of the most memorable romanticists of his time. He was a great influence and completely many "firsts" in literature. For example, he was the first ever to create a series of novels where he carried the main character from young to old age. He definitely set the stage for many other writers in the years to follow.
By: Alina Gonzalez

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