Leatherstocking Tales

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Cover illustration by Carl Offterdinger for a youth edition of James Fenimore Coopers Leatherstocking Tales.
1989 USSR stamp, on themes of Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales

The Leatherstocking Tales is a series of five novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper, each featuring the main hero Natty Bumppo, known by European settlers as "Leatherstocking," 'The Pathfinder", and "the trapper" and by the Native Americans as "Deerslayer," "La Longue Carabine" and "Hawkeye".

Publication history[edit]

Publication
Date
Story
Dates
Title Subtitle
18411841
1740-17551740-1755
The Deerslayer The First War Path
18261826
17571757
The Last of the Mohicans A Narrative of 1757
18401840
17591750s
The Pathfinder The Inland Sea
18231823
17931793
The Pioneers The Sources of the Susquehanna; A Descriptive Tale
18271827
18041804
The Prairie A Tale

The "Story Dates" are derived from dates given in the tales, but do not necessarily correspond with the actual dates of the historical events described in the series. This may have been done for convenience's sake, for instance to avoid making Leatherstocking 100 years old when he traveled the Kansas plains in The Prairie.

The Natty Bumppo character is generally believed to have been inspired, at least in part, by the real-life Daniel Boone.

Characters[edit]

  • Natty Bumppo is the protagonist of the series. Although he is the child of white parents, he grew up with Native Americans, becoming a near-fearless warrior skilled in many weapons, one of which is the long rifle. He respects his forest home and all its inhabitants, hunting only what he needs to survive. When it comes time to fire his trusty flintlock, he lives by the rule that one must shoot only once to bring down a target. He and his Mohican "brother" Chingachgook champion goodness by trying to stop the incessant conflict between the Mohicans and the Hurons. He is known as "Deerslayer" in The Deerslayer, "Hawkeye" and "La Longue Carabine" in The Last of the Mohicans, "Pathfinder" in The Pathfinder, "Leatherstocking" in The Pioneers, and "the trapper" in The Prairie. The novels recount significant events in Natty Bumppo's life from 1740-1806.[1][2] Critic Georg Lukacs identified Bumppo as similar to the middling characters of Sir Walter Scott, who, because they don't represent the extremes of society, can act as tools for social and cultural examination of historical events, without portraying the history itself.[3]
  • Chingachgook is a Mohican chief and companion of Bumppo. Chingachgook married Wah-ta-Wah, who bore him a son Uncas, but she died young. Uncas, "last of the Mohicans,"[4] grew to manhood but was killed in a battle with renegade Magua.

In other media[edit]

Many depictions of Natty Bumppo and his adventures appear on film. Most used one of his nicknames, most often Hawkeye. In the 1992 film version of Last of the Mohicans, Hawkeye's name was changed from Bumppo to Poe. Bumppo is also featured in the comic book series Jack of Fables, along with Slue-Foot Sue, as trackers hired to capture other "Fables". In Alan Moore's graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Natty Bumppo is a member of the group assembled by Lemuel Gulliver alongside other literary characters including Dr Syn, Fanny Hill, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Orlando.

References[edit]

Works cited[edit]

  • Lukacs, Georg (1969). The Historical Novel. Penguin Books. 

Other sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Craig White: Student Companion to James Fenimore Cooper. Greenwood Publishing 2006, ISBN 0313334137, pp. 59–185
  • Geoffrey Rans: Cooper's Leather-Stocking Novels: A Secular Reading. University of Nort Carolina Press, 1991

External links[edit]