James Fenimore Cooper and the growth of American Literature

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateB+, November 1996

download word file, 4 pages 4.6 1 reviews

America! America! God shed His grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!

-America the Beautiful, Katherine Lee Bates

The growth of American Literature was further developed in the era of American Romanticism. In this period, stirrings of national consciousness appeared more and more strongly with the emergence of a truly American literature. During this time, as Americans began to understand the meaning of being 'American', they also began to grow culturally. This paralleled the time when, the world as a whole was experiencing a change in ways of thinking: there was a move from classical ideas to romantic ones. This change was taking place in all areas of culture around the world, including the arts, education, philosophy, and even science, but it was clearest in literature. Romantic literature became the vessel of thought for most of the American writers at this time.

Among them was James Fenimore Cooper, whose contributions of American literature is unarguable, as his novels were the quintessential representative of American romanticism.

America produced many renown authors during the age of American romanticism. During this time, writers, such as: Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, Edgar Allen Poe, and James Fenimore Cooper emerged. Romantic writers emphasized intuition, an inner perception of truth that is independent of reason. To discover this truth, Emerson wrote in The American Scholar (1837), a man must 'learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within.' The main key to this inner world is the imagination. Man's imagination leads to expression. Our expression makes each

of us a unique human. Romanticism became the way of 'expressing' for this generation of writers.

Among the giants of this time, Cooper achieved more worldwide fame than Irving or Bryant. The creation of...