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The Leatherstocking Tales is a series of five novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper, set in the eighteenth century era of development in the primarily former Iroquois areas in central New York. Each novel features Natty Bumppo, a frontiersman known to European-American settlers as "Leatherstocking", "The Pathfinder", and "the trapper". Native Americans call him "Deerslayer", "La Longue Carabine" ("Long Rifle" in French), and "Hawkeye".
||The Deerslayer||The First War Path|
||The Last of the Mohicans||A Narrative of 1757|
||The Pathfinder||The Inland Sea|
||The Pioneers||The Sources of the Susquehanna; A Descriptive Tale|
||The Prairie||A Tale|
The story dates are derived from dates given in the tales and span the period roughly of 1740-1806. They do not necessarily correspond with the actual dates of the historical events described in the series, which discrepancies Cooper likely introduced for the sake of convenience. For instance, Cooper manipulated time to avoid making Leatherstocking 100 years old when he traveled to the Kansas plains in The Prairie.
The Natty Bumppo character is generally believed to have been inspired, at least in part, by the historic explorer Daniel Boone or the lesser known David Shipman.[page needed] Critic Georg Lukacs likened Bumppo to Sir Walter Scott's "middling characters; because they do not represent the extremes of society, these figures can serve as tools for the social and cultural exploration of historical events, without directly portraying the history itself.
- Natty Bumppo is the protagonist of the series: an Anglo-American raised in part by Native Americans, and later a near-fearless warrior (his chief weapon is the long rifle). He and his Mohican "brother" Chingachgook are constant companions. 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.
- Chingachgook is a Mohican chief and companion of Bumppo. His son Uncas, "last of the Mohicans", grew to manhood, but was killed in a battle with the hostile scout Magua. A man named Uncas was an historic chief of the Mohican.
Onscreen adaptations of the novels
Several films have been adapted from one or more of this series of Cooper's novels. Some used one of Bumppo's nicknames, most often Hawkeye, to identify this character, e.g., in:
- The serial film Leatherstocking (1924)
- The Last of the Mohicans (1992 film), in which Hawkeye's surname was changed from Bumppo to Poe
Two Canadian TV series were based on the character of Leatherstocking:
- In Hawkeye and the Last of the Mohicans (1957), Natty Bumppo's name was changed to Nat Cutler, but he was usually referred to as Hawkeye
- The series Hawkeye (1994) is mostly set around the fictional Fort Bennington during the French and Indian War
Representation in other media
- Bumppo is featured in the comic book series Jack of Fables (2006-2011), along with Slue-Foot Sue, as trackers hired to capture other "Fables"
- In Alan Moore's comic series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (1999-2007), Natty Bumppo is featured as a member of the group assembled by Lemuel Gulliver, alongside other literary characters including Dr Syn, Fanny Hill, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Orlando
- In J.R. Moehringer, The Tender Bar: A Memoir (2005), among the men Moehringer gets to know is Bud, who refers to Bumppo in the following quote: "Don't think of fear as the villain. Think of fear as your guide, your pathfinder - your Natty Bumppo."[page needed]
- Taylor, Alan. William Cooper's Town.
- Lukacs 69-72
- James Fenimore Cooper Society's online plot summaries of the chronologically first (The Deerslayer)
- The Prairie novels, indicating the initial and final years of the Leatherstocking saga
- "Uncas will be the last pure-blooded Mohican because there are no pure-blooded Mohican women for him to marry." University of Houston study guide
- Lukacs, Georg (1969). The Historical Novel. Penguin Books.
- Cooper, James Fenimore (2015). The Complete Leatherstocking Tales, Vol. I. Ex Fontibus Company. ISBN 978-1514721759.
- Cooper, James Fenimore (2015). The Complete Leatherstocking Tales, Vol. II. Ex Fontibus Company. ISBN 978-1514721803.
- Cooper, James Fenimore & Nevins, Allan (Editor) (1954). The Leatherstocking Saga. Pantheon Books.
- Pickering, James H. & Test, George A. (Editor). "Cooper's Otsego Heritage: The Sources of The Pioneers". James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art (Papers from the 1979 Conference at State University College of New York, Oneonta and Cooperstown). pp. 11–39.
- Rans, Geoffrey (1991). Cooper's Leather-Stocking Novels: A Secular Reading. University of North Carolina Press.
- White, Craig (2006). Student Companion to James Fenimore Cooper. Greenwood Publishing. pp. 59–185. ISBN 0313334137.
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- Mark Twain, "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences"; a satiric essay about Cooper's prose and Natty Bumppo