The Wing-and-Wing or Le Feu-Follet

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A classic story of love and sea warfare from one of America's greatest novelists.

The year is 1799. Admiral Caraccioli is about to be executed on Lord Nelson's flagship. Young and in love with Carracioli's daughter, the spirited French privateer Raoul Yvard and his wily American sailing master Ithuel Bolt harass the British fleet. Yvard is captured but cunningly escapes, setting up a showdown at sea.

Originally published in 1846, The ...

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The Wing-and-Wing or Le Feu-Follet

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A classic story of love and sea warfare from one of America's greatest novelists.

The year is 1799. Admiral Caraccioli is about to be executed on Lord Nelson's flagship. Young and in love with Carracioli's daughter, the spirited French privateer Raoul Yvard and his wily American sailing master Ithuel Bolt harass the British fleet. Yvard is captured but cunningly escapes, setting up a showdown at sea.

Originally published in 1846, The Wing-and-Wing is a captivating novel of seafaring adventure, romance, and Napoleonic history, from the masterful author of The Leatherstocking Tales.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805055689
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/22/1998
  • Series: Heart of Oak Sea Classics Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 470
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

James Fenimore Cooper

At seventeen, James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) ran away from his home in Cooperstown, New York, to become a merchant seaman. He was a midshipman in the United States navy.


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)

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    "We class a vessel among animals" (Sancho Panza to Don Quixote)

    In his Introduction to Fenimore Cooper's THE WING-AND-WING, editor Thomas Philbrick says that Cooper once contemplated personifying sailing vessels and making them "the characters and all the action derived from their evolutions". He adds that the little 180 ton French privateer, le Feu Follet ("jack o'lantern") becomes so captivating as to seem alive and intelligent. Other commentators on Cooper's ten sea adventure tales note that it is an evil, certainly a rare, sailing ship whose crew do not love it like a woman. This sense of personification is behind Sancho Panza's comment to Don Quixote: "We class a vessel among animals." Indeed, ships are not mere animals but people, too! *** The externals of a book are not the book. But how they can add or detract! For externals I cannot commend too highly the 1998 Henry Holt/Owl Books edition of THE WING-AND-WING. *** -- The color "portrait" by renowned sailing ship depictor Geoff Hunt could be the very Feu Follet sailing "wing-and-wing" (i. e., sails spread beyond both sides of the ship) with the island of Elba in the background. -- Who among today's readers is a master of the rigging and paraphernalia of sailing vessels of August and September 1799? A sailor himself, Cooper liberally sprinkles his text with nautical terms like "bearings." Fortunately, a note among scores by editor Philbrick informs that this is "the widest part of the underbody of the hull." -- We also have two pages of maps (with insets) by cartographer Jeffrey Ward of the Tyrrhenian Sea west of Italy. Every place described in the novel is clearly depicted, including the Island of the Sirens in the Gulf of Salerno, scene of the novel's memorable final battle by land and by sea. This is the edition you want to read. *** The WING-AND-WING is not a bare bones novel. *** -- It has a tragic romance of 26-year old atheistic French privateer Raoul Yvard and pious Italian 19-year old beauty Ghita Carracioli. Ghita loves Raoul passionately but not enough to marry him, fearing he would tempt her away from love of God. -- The novel also has two high comic Italian characters, the Vice-Governor of Elba and his podesta (chief magistrate). It is during a debate the two hold aboard a British warship that captured Raoul makes his daring escape with his first mate, wily England-hating Ithuel Bolt. The two Italians were discussing Bishop Berkeley and arguing whether the world is or is not delusion -- a theme given great meaning at novel's end in reflections on the fate of a dying sailor. -- THE WING-AND-WING is a novel of injustice: British Admiral Nelson's vengeful hanging from the yardarm of a ship of an historial Italian prince who, it turns out, is fictional Ghita's grandfather. And Granite Stater Ithuel Bolt is one of thousands of American seamen illegally seized at sea and "impressed," i. e., made to serve on British warships, theoretically until they can prove their non-British citizenship. The resultant hate of Ithuel Bolt costs many a British life in the novel. -- Vintage elements of Cooper's LEATHERSTOCKING TALES and Sea Tales are in this novel: pursuit, ambush, capture, escape, conflict by land or by sea. And this is a tale of the age of Bonaparte, when one man from Corsica held Europe in suspense about its fate. *** On all these levels, THE WING-AND-WING is one of the finest books I have read in the past five

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013



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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013


    Cora remembered her mother before the divorce. While her father was out, drinking and gambling, she would make home-made popcorn and kool aid. They would pick a comical Disney movie to watch, and they would laugh and bond. One of those times stuck out the most. It was when she'd been young. They'd been watching Cinderella, when mom said "You know, princesses get anything they want." Cora had been young, only seven. "If I was a princess, could I get a good daddy?" She'd asked. Her mother hadn't responded. When she was eleven, her parents had a fight. Cora hadn't understood what they had been talking about then, but she did now. Her father had come home drunk, and she'd been told to go upstairs by her mother, but she chose to eavesdrop on the stairs. It turned violent, and she'd been forced to call 911 because no one else could. Her mother had won custody over her, and her father had been in jail for three years, then vanished from the country. Cora thought their troubles had been over, but her mother became depressed and tempermental. Her father's absence changed Cora, too. She hung around with different friends. They offered her alcohol, and she'd gotten drunk once, but swore off of the stuff after vomiting up her hangover for two days. She never smoked like they did, but she began a bad habit of her own. She stole her first item from a Sheetz, and forever titled herself a kleptomaniac. Cora lived that way for three years, before she got caught. She thankfully didn't go to jail, but for once, her mother noticed what she was doing. Maybe that's why she did it. Maybe she just wanted attention. She had an arguement with her mom. That was what made Cora leave. "You're becoming just like your father!" Her mother had said. "How can you say that?!" Cora replied, horrified and failing to hold back tears. Her mother was on a role now, her murky green eyes ablaze. "And I've made up my mind to send you to Coates Academy next year!" Her mother finished, sounding almost triumphant. Cora had been horrified. She'd locked herself in her room and fasted for two and a half days before she'd broken from the need of water. The caring, kind person that used to be her mother hadn't bothered to check on her during that time, so she'd made up her mind to run away to the neighboring town. She would stay there until they found her, then find the next town to hide in. So, Cora had used her kleptomaniac traits and stolen money and supplies from her home and mother. "I doubt she'll even notice that I left," Cora had muttered before getting on a bus to where ever fate would take her.

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