Lionel Lincoln

Overview

A Revolutionary War tale featuring a Loyalist American hero.
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Lionel Lincoln

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Overview

A Revolutionary War tale featuring a Loyalist American hero.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781434474209
  • Publisher: Wildside Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2008
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper was born in 1789 in New Jersey, the son of a wealthy land agent who founded Cooperstown in New York State. Cooper attended Yale, but was expelled in 1805 and spent five years at sea on merchant then naval ships. He married in 1811, and eventually settled in New York. Precaution, Cooper's first novel, was written in 1820 as a study of English manners; its successors, The Spy and The Pilot, written within the next three years, were more characteristic of the vein of military or seagoing romance that was to become typical of him. In 1823 he began the Leatherstocking Tales series of novels, centred on a shared Native American character at different periods of his life, for which he is chiefly remembered. Cooper's reputation as one of America's leading authors was quickly established, and spread to Europe by a long stay there from 1826, making him one of the first American writers popular beyond that country. After his return to America in 1832, however, conservative political essays and novels dramatising similar views, as well as critiques of American society and abuses of democracy, led to a decline in his popularity. James Fenimore Cooper died in 1851.

Biography

James Cooper (he added the Fenimore when he was in his 30s) was born September 15, 1789, in Burlington, New Jersey, to William Cooper and Elizabeth Fenimore Cooper. In 1790 the family moved to the frontier country of upstate New York, where William established a village he called Cooperstown. Although cushioned by wealth and William's status as landlord and judge, the Coopers found pioneering to be rugged, and only 7 of the 13 Cooper children survived their early years. All the hardship notwithstanding, according to family reports, the young James loved the wilderness. Years later, he wrote The Pioneers (1823) about Cooperstown in the 1790s, but many of his other books draw deeply on his childhood experiences of the frontier as well.

Cooper was sent to Yale in 1801 but he was expelled in 1805 for setting off an explosion in another student's room. Afterward, as a midshipman in the fledgling U.S. Navy, he made Atlantic passages and served at an isolated post on Lake Ontario. Cooper resigned his commission in 1811 to marry Susan Augusta De Lancey, the daughter of a wealthy New York State family. During the next decade, however, a series of bad investments and legal entanglements reduced his inheritance to the verge of bankruptcy.

Cooper was already 30 years old when, on a dare from his wife, he became a writer. One evening he threw down, in disgust, a novel he was reading aloud to her, saying he could write a better book himself. Susan, who knew that he disliked writing even letters, expressed her doubts. To prove her wrong he wrote Precaution, which was published anonymously in 1820. Encouraged by favorable reviews, Cooper wrote other books in quick succession, and by the time The Last of the Mohicans, his sixth novel, was published in 1827, he was internationally famous as America's first professionally successful novelist. Eventually he published 32 novels, as well as travel books and histories. Cooper invented the genre of nautical fiction, and in the figure of Nathaniel or "Natty" Bumppo (Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans) -- the central character in the five Leatherstocking Tales Cooper published between 1823 and 1841 -- he gave American fiction its first great hero.

Shortly after publishing The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper moved his family to Europe, but in 1833 he returned to America, moving back into his father's restored Mansion House in Cooperstown. He died there on September 14, 1851.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

Good To Know

Cooper was expelled from Yale due to his passion for pranks, which included training a donkey to sit in a professor's chair and setting a fellow student's room on fire.

Between 1822 and 1826 Cooper lived in New York City, and was a major player on its intellectual scene. He founded the Bread and Cheese Club, which had many high-profile members, including notable painters of the Hudson River School and writers like William Cullen Bryant.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      September 15, 1789
    2. Place of Birth:
      Burlington, New Jersey
    1. Date of Death:
      September 14, 1851
    2. Place of Death:
      Cooperstown, New York
    1. Education:
      Yale University (expelled in 1805)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "certain features of mind ... are transmitted through families"

    In April 1775, when his ship sailed into Boston harbor from England, the future was bright for 25 year old Major Lionel Lincoln. He was returning after nearly two decades to the city of his birth after growing up in England, studying at Oxford and being elected to the House of Commons from one of two seats controlled by his wealthy aristocratic family. Young Lionel comes to join his regiment days before General Gage sends out a detachment of redcoats to Lexington and Concord to seize a rebel arsenal. Although not yet given a command, Lincoln will be among them as a volunteer to hear "the shot heard round the world" that launched the American Revolution.

    Fenimore Cooper's fifth novel, LIONEL LINCOLN (1825), marks a new stage in the 35 year old author's rapidly evolving career. It is his first novel with an American urban setting (Boston and environs). It is also an experiment in tacking on dark Gothic elements to the personal dimension of an historical novel of national loyalties modeled on Sir Walter Scott's 1814 genre-creating WAVERLEY. The Gothic dimension proved a dead-end but was well calculated to keep America's first novelist to live by his pen before American and European readers eager for the bizarre, the noir, the mad, the supernatural and the ghastly.

    The world historical turning point of LIONEL LINCOLN is fascinating enough. Its core is the beginning of British expulsion from 13 North American colonies launched by the battles of Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill and other skirmishes graphically sketched by Cooper. From April 1775 to March 1776 American forces soon led by Congress-appointed George Washington of Virginia, pen eight thousand or more crack British troops in Boston. Only the massive guns of the Royal Navy prevent the redcoats being overrun. In the end, hungry, suffering from smallpox and other ailments, General Howe evacuates most of his troops to Nova Scotia to take up arms against the rebels in New York and elsewhere. Boston remains free of British rule from that day to this.

    The second component of LIONEL LINCOLN, the Gothic, appeals to me personally independently of the sheer historical truth of the novel. Young Lionel Lincoln's father has languished in an English madhouse for a decade. Only slowly do we find out why. Meanwhile Lionel fears that his hot temper and bursts of impetuosity may be signs of incipient madness in himself. His father was not the first of his line to go mad and "certain features of mind ... are transmitted through families," Lionel believes.

    Meanwhile he renews acquaintance with an ancient great-aunt and falls in love with her beautiful granddaughter Cecil Dynevor. Both these women and others in Boston know something appalling about Lionel's insane father and deceased mother. So does ancient Ralph, a mysterious shipmate of Lionel on the Boston voyage. So do 27 year old Job Pray and his mother, she having been present at Lionel's birth. What is this dark personal mystery far better known to several people in Boston than to Major Lincoln? Ere long he impetuously resolves that nothing, not even his eerie marriage celebrated in an almost totally dark chapel will keep him from the truth. Not even defection to the despised Yankee rebels, should it come to that.

    Experience wartime Boston when it was still held for King George III. Suffer with its ever hungrier, sicker inhabitants. Follow two couples in their unusually challenged young loves. -OOO-

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