@Yale University, Life Achievements and Childhood
James Fenimore Cooper born at
From a very young age, James Cooper was a follower of the Episcopal Church and remained an active member of the Church throughout his life.
He married Susan Augusta de Lancey, in 1811, when he was just 21-years-old. The couple went on to have seven children, five of whom survived adulthood.
He spent his last years in Cooperstown and passed away due to dropsy or a form of ‘edema’.
James Fenimore Cooper was the eleventh of the twelve children born to William Cooper and Elizabeth Cooper, in Burlington, New Jersey. His father was a United States Congressman. Many of his siblings died during infancy or childhood. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Cooperstown, New York.
He enrolled at Yale University at the age of 13, but his mischievous nature led to his expulsion from the university in his third year and thus he could not complete his degree.
Since he lost interest in academics, he started working as a sailor at the age of 17 in 1806 and joined the crew of a merchant vessel. A few years later, he was made a midshipman in the U.S. Navy.
In 1819, he became the head of the Cooper band after the death of his father and his brothers. Consequently, he took on full responsibility for all the wealthy Cooper manors, which was at the time, severely in debt.
He published his first book, ‘Precaution’, which was a minor success, in 1820. The next year, he authored, ‘The Spy’. This book went on to become more popular than the former publication and catapulted him to international fame and recognition.
In 1823, he wrote, ‘The Pioneers’, the first of the stories which would later go on to be published in the famous, ‘Leatherstocking Tales’. This book went on to be considered the ‘first true American novel’.
In 1826, he authored the ‘Last of the Mohicans’, which is considered to be his masterpiece and became one of the most widely read novels of the 19th century. The same year, he moved to Europe in the pursuit of a better life for his children.
He followed the previous tale, with a third inclusion in the ‘Leatherstocking series’ titled, ‘The Prairie’, in 1827. He then went on to publish, ‘Notions of the Americans’, which went on to make him an extremely controversial figure, because the book disappointed both the British and the Americans.
His most famous novel, ‘The Last of the Mohicans’, was the second book in the ‘Leatherstocking Tales’ pentalogy. This book is considered his masterpiece. At the time of its publication, it was widely regarded as one of the ‘best English novels at the time’ and is still one of the most widely read novels in ‘American Literature’ courses in institutions. The novel was adapted for film countless times, a number of stage dramas, comics, animation series’, radio, operas and for television.