The Prairie

The Prairie

by James Fenimore Cooper, Blake Nevius
3.7 13

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The Prairie by James Fenimore Cooper

The final novel in Cooper’s epic, The Prairie depicts Natty Bumppo at the end of his life, still displaying his indomitable strength and dignity.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101656150
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/27/2005
Series: Leatherstocking Tale
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 1,013,702
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) grew up at Otsego Hall, his father’s manorial estate near Lake Otsego in upstate New York. Educated at Yale, he spent five years at sea, as a foremast hand and then as a midshipman in the navy. At thirty he was suddenly plunged into a literary career when his wife challenged his claim that he could write a better book that the English novel he was reading to her. The result was Precaution (1820), a novel of manners. His second book, The Spy (1821), was an immediate success, and with The Pioneers (1823) he began his series of Leatherstocking Tales. By 1826 when The Last of the Mohicans appeared, his standing as a major novelist was clearly established. From 1826 to 1833 Cooper and his family lived and traveled in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany. Two of his most successful works, The Prairie and The Red Rover, were published in 1827. He returned to Otsego Hall in 1834, and after a series of relatively unsuccessful books of essays, travel sketches, and history, he returned to fiction – and to Leatherstocking – with The Pathfinder (1840) and The Deerslayer (1841). In his last decade he faced declining popularity brought on in part by his waspish attacks on critics and political opponents. Just before his death in 1851 an edition of his works led to a reappraisal of his fiction and somewhat restored his reputation as the first of American writers.

Date of Birth:

September 15, 1789

Date of Death:

September 14, 1851

Place of Birth:

Burlington, New Jersey

Place of Death:

Cooperstown, New York


Yale University (expelled in 1805)

Table of Contents



Historical Introduction

Preface [1827]

Introduction [1832]

Interpolations in 1832 Introduction [1849]

The Prairie

Textual Commentary

Note on the Manuscripts

Textual Notes


Rejected Readings


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The Prairie 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE PRAIRIE begins in 1804, 500 miles west of the Mississippi River and ends there a year later. The land now belongs to the USA, after the purchase of Louisiana. Rogers and Clark are exploring farther north. *** Nathaniel 'Natty' Bumppo aka Hawkeye, Deerslayer, Pathfinder and other evolving names is 87 years old. He no longer thinks of himself as a hunter but a simple trapper of furs and hides. He runs afoul of a crude family led by Ishmael Bush, all rugged individualists like himelf. They are traveling with an eccentric medical doctor who is also a naturalist exploring new flora and fauna. They have kidnapped, without the doctor's knowledge, the beautiful daughter of the richest Creole in newly purchased Louisiana. Natty throws in as an ally of various parties: her army Captain fiance who is on her trail, a wandering bee trailer and a large band of benign Pawnees to see justice done. *** In the process of setting free two women unwillingly with the Bushes, Natty and others skirmish with thieving Sioux who set the prairie on fire to trap the rescuers and the two young women, including the refined niece of one of the rascally group. In the end, the paterfamilias of the Bush family squatters does rough frontier justice to all parties, including imposing a brutal death sentence on his wife's brother who had killed their eldest son. *** Read THE PRAIRIE for its description of an American west in which white men were still rare, and for the final months of Natty Bumppo, a haunting figure who catches much of the pioneering American spirit that made America America. The writing is vivid, memorable and the history of the frontier is of seminal importance. -OOO-
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually enjoyed this more than The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper's most popular book. The Prairie tells a very interesting story, and no detail is too trivial to be excluded. Overall, although it certainly drifted into excess obscurity at times, in a larger scope The Prairie was an extemely rewarding read. It's worthy to note that the historical context of this book seems to be quite accurate.
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Is it any good?