Precaution (novel)

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Author James Fenimore Cooper
Country United States
Language English
Genre Novel
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

Precaution (1820) is the first novel written by American author James Fenimore Cooper. It was written in imitation of contemporary English domestic novels like those of Jane Austen and Amelia Opie, and it did not meet with contemporary success.[1] Cooper went on to have great success with works such as The Pathfinder (1841) and The Deerslayer (1840). The American reading public responded most to The Last of the Mohicans (1826).


It is thought that the novel was written after a challenge made by his wife. His biographer Warren Walker records it this way:

"... In the customary practice of the day he was reading aloud to his wife one evening from a current English novel, but found the story dull. Throwing it aside, he declared, "I could write a better book than that myself." And Susan's challenge to make good his boast resulted in his writing Precaution (1820). . ."[1][2] When Cooper's work was published without a name it was anonymously accredited to an English woman. It was also published in England and was well received among the set that was fond of this style of writing. The publisher, A.T. Goodrich, later surprised the public when it revealed that Precaution was authored by a gentleman from New York. This is the work that made Cooper realize his potential as a writer.[3]


  1. ^ a b Liukkonen, Petri. "James Fenimore Cooper". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Walker, Warren (1963). James Fennimore Cooper: An Introduction and Interpretation (2nd ed.). New York: Barnes & Noble. 
  3. ^ Phillips, 1913 James Fenimore Cooper p.78


  • Phillips, Mary Elizabeth (1913). James Fenimore Cooper. John Lane Company, New York, London. p. 368. Url
  • Long, Robert Emmet (1990). James Fennimore Cooper: Literature & Life Story. Continuum: A Fredrick Ungar Book. ISBN 0-8264-0431-6. 
  • Spiller, Robert E. (1936). James Fennimore Cooper. Minnesota: North Central Publishing Company. 
  • Walker, Warren (1963). James Fennimore Cooper: An Introduction and Interpretation (2nd ed.). New York: Barnes & Noble. 

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