Wyandotte, or, the Hutted Knoll: A Tale

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Meet the Author

James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper is considered by many to be America's first great novelist. His most popular work, The Last of the Mohicans, has remained one of the most widely read novels throughout the world, greatly influencing the way many cultures have viewed both the American Indians and the frontier period of U.S. history.


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.

Read More Show Less
    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

Historical Introduction

Wyandotté, or The Hutted Knoll

Explanatory Notes
Textual Commentary
Note on the Manuscript
Textual Notes
Rejected Readings

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2014


    The one before this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2013

    H n


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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Worst spelling I Have ever attemptted to read

    Worst attempt at spelling I have ever seen

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013



    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2012


    *kisses him back.*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Galaxy i mean

    Gets up and storms to 'galaxy' res 2!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012


    Take my home she leaves to the ext result. She is only seven

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    Dike grounded

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Saucy Nick the Tuscarora Indian said to the English Captain Willoughby: "Buy Nick know, den." The Captain replied: "That is just what I do wish to purchase." (Chapter One)

    Cooper's last of four novels of the American Revolution, Wyandotte, was published in August 1843. It takes a brave man in 2009 to discuss this book, when Edgar Allan Poe reviewed it brililantly and fairly in November 1843. This latter tidbit we learn in ample detail in the impressive Albany, New York critical edition's "Historical Introduction" by editors Thomas and Marianne Philbrick. ***

    In WYANDOTTE Cooper mixes the following elements already used by him in earlier fiction: a family and its inner workings, races and cultures interacting, American colonial loyalty to a distant monarchy, frontiers and boundaries and creation of a European settlement in a remote settlement. ***

    Relatively new in WYANDOTTE, I think, is Cooper's deep probing of the psyche of his Indian hero, Saucy Nick or Old Nick. This Indian, to himself, and as seen by his English and American neighbors, has a weak, even evil side. He calls himself Nick when he feels ashamed of having once been a chief, but expelled by his tribe for unnamed reasons. He is Nick when he begs for dollars to feed his love of strong drink. He is Nick when he glories in killing and scalping his enemies. But both to himself and to the English hero of the novel, retired Royal Army Captain Hugh Willoughby, this Indian is Wyandotte when he is good and noble. Curiously, we read this name for the first time in the 19th chapter of a 30 chapter novel. And there seems to be an intermediate stage of name-giving. When the Indian is merely passably good he accepts being called by himself and others Tuscarora, the name of his tribe. And at novel's end, after a long, imperfect struggle, he is a baptized, conscience-stricken, troubled mercy-seeking Christian: Nicholas. ***

    Does this tale of good and evil contending within one soul sound familiar? WYANDOTTE appeared 43 years before Robert Louis Stevenson's DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE and 24 years after Sir Walter Scott's IVANHOE. The parallel to Nick/Wyandotte in IVANHOE is the proud, sensuous Norman Templar knight, Brian de Bois-Guibert. Their moments of death are strikingly similar and resonate with cognitive dissonance too great to be borne. ***

    To follow on to his less than outstanding career in the army Captain Willoughby intends to find and develop prime land in the wilderness. He "buys" Saucy Nick's "know" and agrees to a perfect spot with a beaver pond known only to Nick. The relation between the two men had been up and down. As comrades in arms they had stormed a French fortification together. But thrice the Captain had felt justified flogging Nick for undisclosed reasons. These floggings rankle, although Nick/Wyandotte has gradually suppressed unpleasant memories. This he did in gratitude to the Captain's wife who had saved his life by inoculating him against smallpox. Nick had also allowed his admiration for the Captain's two young daughters to tamp down his hatred. The Captain, therefore, made a terrible mistake in the autumn of 1776 when he threatened after ten years to renew flogging Nick. A terrible mistake. ***

    Read this brilliant novel to find how how Captain Willoughby paid for his threat to renew flogging Nick. And see how Wyandotte did his best to save the Captain's three women. He even rescued the Captain's son from captivity. Nineteen years later that son pronounces about Nick/Wyandotte the novel's last words: "He never forgot a favor, or forgave an injury." -OOO-

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