Accepting Nominations for the 2017 Dorothy Ross Prize The Society for U.S. Intellectual History (S-USIH) is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Dorothy Ross Prize for best article in US intellectual history by an emerging scholar (defined as […]
Society for U. S. Intellectual History 2017 Annual Book Award The Society for U. S. Intellectual History (S-USIH) is pleased to announce its Annual Book Award for the best book in U.S. intellectual history. The book should be a work […]
Call for Papers: “Histories of Memory, Memories of History” Society for U.S. Intellectual History Annual Conference Oct. 26-29, 2017 Plano, TX The Society for U.S. Intellectual History invites proposals for its 2017 conference, to be held Oct. 26-29, 2017 at […]
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It is easy to underestimate the significance of James Fenimore Cooper for American literature and American imagination more broadly. To the modern reader his prose appears tedious, his characters shallow, and his plots formulaic. Even when compared with contemporaries he at times appears as a clumsy curiosity: he lacked the wit of Washington Irving or the psychological penetration of Charles Brockden Brown. He did, however, demonstrate an uncanny ability to cater to the sensibilities of an American audience thirsty for cathartic formulas that could elevate the American settler-colonial project to the realm of the mythological—despite festering moral equivocations. Indeed, in many ways Cooper pioneered the themes later taken up not only by Emerson and Whitman, but also by more critical authors such as Melville, Twain, and Faulkner.