"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences by Mark Twain

Nearly 20 years ago I saw the movie The Last of the Mohicans . I knew it was probably not too much like the books, but I was inspired to read James Fenimore Cooper: The Leatherstocking Tales I; The Pioneers, The Last of the Mohicans, The Prairie , a collection of his work featuring Natty Bumpo (Hawkeye) and I found them to be horrible. Not just bad, but darn near unreadable.

Note that I am a top reviewer at Amazon. I love books. I hate this author even though I love American history (I am a history teacher), I love frontier stories and I was certainly pre-disposed to like his works. But, I've always kept my opinions to myself, despite the fact that he had one sentence that lasted more than two pages describing a banquet table that featured a near endless string of semi-colons.

James Fenimore Cooper
Until now.

If Mark Twain, the quintessential American writer finds Cooper wordy, clunky and darn near unreadable (to be specific, Twain calls his work "a crime against the English language"), than I can proudly say that I too find James Fenimore Cooper to be a hack.

Of course, Twain says it much better. His sarcasm is laser sharp. He is merciless and I laughed out loud. Twain at his best, especially if you are familiar with Cooper.

I give this short essay 5 stars out of a possible 5 stars. It can be found on Amazon.com here: Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences.

Reviewed July 13, 2010.

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