Fennimore Cooper's Literary Offenses Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Twain and Cooper

Cover Letter

The following essay looks at Mark Twain's reaction to James Fennimore Cooper's writing, and more specifically at the praise given to Cooper by these people. The reader should take away that Twain was correct in what he wrote because he was structurally accurate. However, Twain slights Cooper in that he looks at his works from an only a structural standpoint. Cooper's works meant much more to American literature than the face value of the books. Cooper was an innovator as far as American literature went, and gave American writers a distinct voice.

At first the essay strikes of jealousy, but Twain seemed more irritated by what the critics overlooked than he was of Cooper's writing. The assignment was enjoyable because it speaks to the clear differences between a visionary writer and a more structural one. Twain is more of an engineer than a creator. He wants everything to be technically accurate, and he expects the same from other writers and critics. Cooper is not a technician, he is a dreamer. He wants to provide American authors with the tools to write their nation's own stories rather than borrowing style from England or anywhere else. It was enjoyable to see this interplay between the two.

I chose to write about Twain's critique of Cooper because they are two known and, seemingly, similar authors. I like Twain's work better, so I was ready to
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believe whatever he said, but I found myself seeing that Twain was acting like a fussy schoolmarm to some extent, and tried to separate what he was saying from the realities of Coopers intent. That was probably the most difficult part because Twain was so structurally correct, as he always is.

Critical Evaluation of Mark Twain's

"Fennimore Cooper's Literary Offenses"

James Fennimore Cooper is one of the most revered authors in American fiction and often regarded as one of the progenitors of the American style. His set of books, the Leather Stocking Tales, has been absorbed by anxious readers wince they were written nearly 200 years ago. Another great American writer, Mark Twain (many regard him as the best), takes issue with "experts" who would call what Cooper has accomplished art. He is vehemently opposed to the idea in fact because he has read all of the tales and found multiple inaccuracies in them. Twain was a great writer and one that needed very little editing according to accounts, and he was also a very experienced writer who probably lamented the lack of quality in other's writing. This essay gives a studied and vigorous look at the works of James Fennimore Cooper and calls out the literary "critics" who regard him as a great American writer.

Twains first issue with the critics is that they apparently did not read any of Cooper's writing or they would have been able to see the…

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