The Pioneers

The Pioneers

Book - 1988
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The first of Cooper's renowned Leatherstocking Tales - introducing the heroic American frontiersman, Natty Bumppo.

In this classic novel, James Fenimore Cooper portrays life in a new settlement on New York's Lake Otsego in the closing years of the eighteenth century. He describes the year's cycle- the turkey shoot at Christmas, the tapping of maple trees, fishing for bass in the evening, the marshalling of the militia. But Cooper is also concerned with exploring the development of the cultural and philosophical underpinnings of the American experience. He writes of the conflicts within the settlement itself, focusing primarily on the contrast between the natural codes of the hunter and woodsman Natty Bumppo and his Indian friend John Mohegan and the more rigid structure of law needed by a more complex society. Quite possibly America's first best-seller (more than three thousand copies were sold within hours of publication), The Pioneers today evokes a vibrant and authentic picture of the American pioneering experience.
Publisher: New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, 1988
ISBN: 9780140390070
Branch Call Number: COOPER J
PS1414 .Al 1988
Characteristics: xxiv, 460 p. ; 20 cm
Uniform Title: Pioneers


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Nov 30, 2013

It's pretty easy, even for students of American Lit., to dismiss Cooper as a hack, a sentimentalist and a failed myth-maker. None of those things are inaccurate exactly, but there is more to him than you might think. "The Pioneers" was the first of the Leatherstocking Tales, but is actually the fourth in terms of the chronology. Natty Bumpo is an old, somewhat cranky man living uneasily with the residents of a small village. Already the tension between the individual and society that will be a major theme in our literature is present, as is the love of nature giving way to progress. It's a bit slow, but give it time.


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