The Deerslayer (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Deerslayer (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)


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The Deerslayer, by James Fenimore Cooper, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

“Live by your own council. Be brave in the face of the unknown. Be always fair.”
-Natty Bumppo, The Deerslayer

One of the greatest heroes in American literature, Natty Bumppo is the rugged frontiersman of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, a series of five novels that includes The Last of the Mohicans and The Deerslayer. Although the final volume to be written, The Deerslayer is the first in the chronology of Natty Bumppo’s life, depicting the character as a young man testing himself in the wilderness, and against enemies, for the first time.

Set in the 1740’s just as the French and Indian wars have begun, the novel opens as Natty Bumppo—known as Deerslayer—and his friend Hurry Harry travel to Tom Hutter’s house in upstate New York. Hurry plans to marry Tom’s beautiful daughter Judith, while Deerslayer has come to help his close friend Chingachgook save his bride-to-be, Wah-ta-Wah, from the Huron Indians. When war breaks out, and Hurry and Tom are captured by Indians, Deerslayer must go on his first warpath to rescue them.

One of the earliest novels to be considered truly “American," The Deerslayer is a masterpiece of suspense, adventure, and romance.

Bruce L. R. Smith is a fellow at the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. He is the author or editor of sixteen scholarly books, and he continues to lecture widely in the United States and abroad.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593082116
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 07/01/2005
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 40,751
Product dimensions: 5.18(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.52(d)

About the Author

The creator of two genres that became staples of American literature — the sea romance and the frontier adventure — James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) was born in New Jersey, raised in the wilderness of New York, and spent five years at sea before embarking on his successful writing career. Among Cooper’s many novels, his best-known books are the five "Leatherstocking" tales — including The Deerslayer and The Last of the Mohicans — each featuring the fictional hero Natty Bumppo.

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)

Read an Excerpt

From Bruce L. R. Smith’s Introduction to The Deerslayer

James Fenimore Cooper’s literary reputation has undergone striking vicissitudes over the years. Hailed in his lifetime (1789–1851) as America’s first great novelist and lionized throughout the Western world, he fell into the literary doldrums at the end of the nineteenth century (in his own country at least) and languished there for many years. So complete was his fall that he became almost an object of ridicule among critics and literary commissioners. Later generations found it hard to imagine that he had once been an icon in the American literary canon. More recently, however, there has been a revival of interest in Cooper and a reconsideration of his literary reputation.

His death in Cooperstown on September 14, 1851, and a memorial service held the next month in New York City brought tributes from Daniel Webster, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Washington Irving, Henry Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, and other leading American men of letters. In Europe, Thackeray, Balzac, Goethe, Scott, Lafayette, Carlyle, Sand, and Sue were among the many admirers of Cooper’s writings. So were, later, Joseph Conrad, who paid tribute in particular to Cooper’s seafaring works, and D. H. Lawrence, who was so inspired by Cooper’s treatment of the frontier that he came to spend several years living in the American West. Cooper was probably even more popular in Europe than he was in his own country, and he earned much of the money he made as America’s first successful professional writer from overseas sales of his works.

A controversialist, Cooper provoked unease from his countrymen as well as veneration. His popularity waned after his return to America in 1833 from a seven-year absence spent traveling in Europe; upon his return, he criticized the materialism and crassness he saw in America that had changed for the worse. He was not afraid to join in political fights and to hit back at enemies—he became something of a public scold in his later years, and he emulated his father’s recourse to the courts to redress wrongs. He stirred the ire of Whig newspaper publishers who had always distrusted him and disliked, in particular, his novels Homeward Bound (1838) and Home as Found (1838). He was variously assailed at different times for being too Jacksonian and hostile to authority, and for being too aristocratic and class conscious. It is doubtful, however, whether Cooper really felt comfortable with any political party, and his political ideas certainly did not add up to a coherent political philosophy. He was nominally a Jackson Democrat but had a strong distrust of populist sentiments and of demagogues who stirred up the uneducated masses. Although a charming and gregarious man in his youth, Cooper came to be almost a recluse in later years and at times displayed a gift for making enemies. Many of the attacks on Cooper, though, were libelous, for he won the suits he instituted.

Cooper was wedded to his upstate New York region but was also a cosmopolitan who traveled widely; he was a romantic spinner of tales but also a realist who closely observed social mores, manners, and class status even in his novels set in the wilderness. Cooper was an optimist but one with a paranoid streak and a dark side. He lived mostly in the company of women but wrote mostly about men, male friendships, and heroes who broke free of or who never knew the bonds of domesticity. Cooper was as hard a man to understand for his contemporaries as he is for us now. Was he a reactionary or a man ahead of his times, an apologist for white America or a champion of Native Americans? Did he affirm the conquest of the wilderness or was he an early ecologist? As Robert Emmet Long comments, “Two centuries after his birth, he remains an American enigma” (James Fenimore Cooper, p. 13; see “For Further Reading”).

Yet for all of the controversy his life stirred, Cooper’s literary reputation remained largely intact until the end of the nineteenth century. He was, indeed, a cultural icon in a broad sense. His fiction redefined the past for the country, invented the idea of the Western frontier, and gave Americans a mythic sense of themselves and their destiny. He was a patron of the visual arts. Cooper’s writings stimulated interest in American history and fostered the professional writing of history, even though his novels often subordinated historical reality to archetype and myth. His interest in the Navy was genuine and was grounded in firsthand experience, and he was familiar with many of the personages he wrote about in The History of the Navy of the United States of America (1839), which was a classic study of its kind. Cooper’s friend George Bancroft, the distinguished Harvard historian, interpreted the American Revolution in terms similar to the story lines and subtexts of Cooper’s novels dealing with the revolution, and he patterned his style of narrative history writing after Cooper’s narrative techniques. Moreover, Cooper did much to fashion and to expand the popular audience for his novels (and for the writers who followed him). His works were issued and reissued after his death.

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The Deerslayer (Illustrated + link to download FREE audiobook + Active TOC) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
rea1der More than 1 year ago
This book should be in every person's library.It is well written and based on American history which all American citizens should know I am pleased to be a member of Barnes and Noble which sells these works of classic literature at prices that are affordable. Please note that I am using a different e-mail address my previous e-mail address was
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
to many type errors
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many who have not yet read Fenimore Cooper's 1841 novel THE DEERSLAYER, or THE FIRST WAR-PATH, have nonetheless heard of Mark Twain's satire of it. Variously styled 'Cooper's Indians' or more accurately, 'Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses,' Twain's essay, by any admission both inaccurate and unfair, nonetheless, has a grain of truth. Some of Cooper's Indians do seem a mite too stupid or at least clumsy and some of his white people speak like bad translations from Homeric Greek. *** Happily, the Barnes and Noble Classics edition of DEERSLAYER contains Twain's humorous treatment of DEERSLAYER as an appendix, and Mark Twain is very funny, accurate or not. So make up your own mind after you read the original! *** The action takes place in 1744, at the onset of King George's war between Britain and France. And it will not be long before Britain will be distracted by France's support of the rising for Bonnie Prince Charlie in Scotland. *** The location of THE DEERSLAYER is Lake Otsego, one of 11 Finger Lakes in Central New York. Indians call it 'Glimmerglass.' Muskrat Castle is a fortified hut on stilts in the lake. It was built by Floating Tom Hutter, a trapper. He also has a smaller lake craft, the ark, resembling a diminutive canal barge. Iroquois make an attack on this barge while it carries Tom, his two daughters, Judith and Hetty, along with 'Natty' Bumppo, aka Deerslayer and his Indian friend Chingachgook. Mark Twain makes much of Indian ineptness in their failure to seize a slow moving boat being winched out of a river into the lake. At novel's beginning Deerslayer had been traveling with Henry Marsh, 'Hurry Harry' who is courting Judith. Natty was to meet up with Chingachgook on the lake to help him recover his captured wife from Hurons. *** Adventures with Iroquois and Huron Indians -- indiscriminately styled Mingos by Deerslayer -- make up much of the rest of the tale. Somewhat older Judith falls heavily in love with 20 year old Natty Bumppo, but he is not then or later much of the marrying kind. The novel's appeal is in its description of interactions and misunderstandings between white men and red men. Trading is a big feature of frontier life and lives are saved when the Mingos become fascinated by elaborate chess pieces offered by Judith in trade for the lives of her father and Hurry Harry. *** Throughout the five Leatherstocking Tales Natty Bumppo, illiterate but with a probing mind, tries to understand what makes white and red men different. He articulates his theory that every creature has its own 'gifts.' If redskins have a gift for taking scalps of slain enemies, well, white men simply do not. Accept the diversity of God's gifts and get on with life. *** Here are three samples of Natty's wisdom: --'God made us all, white, black, and red and, no doubt, had his own wise intentions in coloring us differently. Still, he made us, in the main, much the same in feelin's though I'll not deny that he gave each race its gifts. A white man's gifts are Christianized, while a redskin's are more for the wilderness.' 'Ch. III' --'I've fou't, Judith yes, I have fou't the inimy, and that, too, for the first time in my life. These things must be, and they bring with 'em a mixed feelin' of sorrow and triumph. Human natur' is a fightin' natur', I suppose, as all nations kill in battle, and we must be true to our rights and gifts.' 'Ch. VIII' ----'Telling of his first kill to his admiring Indian friend': ' ... I fou't like a man with gifts of my own color. God gave me the victory. ... White he made me and white I shall live and die.' 'Ch. IX' *** The skirmishes on Lake Glimmerglass are part of the first war-path of two young friends, raised together among Delaware Indians, who hate Mingos. Natty kills his first human, a Mingo warri
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although the best known title in Cooper's Leatherstocking series is the Last of the Mohicans, the first book (the Deerslayer) and the third book (the Pathfinder) are better. Cooper wrote these two books later and they definately show an improvement in writing and plot synthesis.
Hantsuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was slightly hesitant in reading this because I had previously read The Last of the Mohicans which was a little harder to decipher especially since I was only a freshman at the time. To my delight, this novel was a much easier read, and to my surprise, I finished it in no time at all. I can understand that a lot of contemporary readers would not enjoy this novel mainly because it was written for the readers of its time, but if you think about how the action helps move this story forward and ho...moreI was slightly hesitant in reading this because I had previously read The Last of the Mohicans which was a little harder to decipher especially since I was only a freshman at the time. To my delight, this novel was a much easier read, and to my surprise, I finished it in no time at all. I can understand that a lot of contemporary readers would not enjoy this novel mainly because it was written for the readers of its time, but if you think about how the action helps move this story forward and how the romance keeps the story somewhat interesting, it's not as bad as you may think.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Goodbye." He sadly turns and pads out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My name is Crimsonpaw. I am a female and i have white fur with red paws, a red muzzle, and the tip of my tail is red. I have green eyes. I love challenges and have a bad habit of rushing into things headfirst. I am not afraid to get hurt if means protecting a clanmate.
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Librarybuyer More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book for a public library and it was terrible. The pages were copies of the original text. Plus, it was huge. I would only recommend the purchase of this book if you needed it for a class. the margins are about two inches wide!
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