The Deerslayer (1841) is the last-written of Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, but the first in the development of the hero, Natty Bumppo. Here, Cooper returns Leatherstocking to his youth and to a pristine wilderness that D. H. Lawrence said was perhaps `lovelier than any place created in language'. This novel, and the contemporaneous The Pathfinder , mark Cooper's return to historical romance after more than a decade given largely to social and political commentary. Written during the period of Cooper's bitter legal battles with the Whig press, The Deerslayer reflects a retreat from his difficulties into a world of romance; but the novel also symbolically attacks Cooper's opponents and implicitly provides a critique of nineteenth-century American society. In the Introduction H. Daniel Peck offers an explanation for The Deerslayer's mysterious power over twentieth-century readers, showing how the novel's patterns of adventurous action dramatize issues of possession and loss. This edition provides the authoritative text of the novel.
This book is intended for general readers, those interested in American fiction, pastoralism, and environment, and students at undergraduate and graduate level studying 19th-centgury American literature and culture.show more