History Literature / FenimoreCoopersLiteraryOffences

9th Jun '16 3:37:52 PM Gideoncrawle
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Cooper's gift in the way of invention was not a rich endowment; but [[GiftedlyBad such as it was he liked to work it]], he was pleased with the effects, and indeed he did some quite sweet things with it. In his little box of stage properties he kept [[SignatureStyle six or eight cunning devices, tricks, artifices]] for his savages and woodsmen to deceive and circumvent each other with, and he was never so happy as when he was working these innocent things and seeing them go. A favorite one was to make a moccasined person tread in the tracks of the moccasined enemy, and thus hide his own trail. Cooper wore out barrels and barrels of moccasins in working that trick. Another [[{{Trope}} stage-property]] that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was his [[SoMuchForStealth broken twig.]] He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. [[SoMuchForStealth It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn't step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around.]] Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, [[WithCatlikeTread he is sure to step on a dry twig.]] There may be a hundred handier things to step on, but that wouldn't satisfy Cooper. [[RunningGag Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig;]] and if he can't do it, go and borrow one. [[OverusedRunningGag In fact, the Leather Stocking Series ought to have been called the Broken Twig Series.]]

I am sorry there is not room to put in a few dozen instances of [[ScarilyCompetentTracker the delicate art of the forest, as practised by Natty Bumppo]] and some of the other Cooperian experts. Perhaps we may venture two or three samples. Cooper was a sailor--a naval officer; yet he gravely tells us how a vessel, driving towards a lee shore in a gale, is steered for a particular spot by her skipper because he knows of an undertow there which will hold her back against the gale and save her. [[DanBrowned For just pure woodcraft, or sailorcraft, or whatever it is, isn't that neat?]] For several years Cooper was daily in the society of artillery, and he ought to have noticed that when a cannon-ball strikes the ground it either buries itself or skips a hundred feet or so; skips again a hundred feet or so--and so on, till finally it gets tired and rolls. Now in one place he loses some "females"--[[InsistentTerminology as he always calls women]]--in the edge of a wood near a plain at night in a fog, on purpose to give Bumppo a chance to show off the delicate art of the forest before the reader. These mislaid people are hunting for a fort. They hear a cannonblast, and a cannon-ball presently comes rolling into the wood and stops at their feet. To the females this suggests nothing. The case is very different with the admirable Bumppo. I wish I may never know peace again if he doesn't strike out promptly and follow the track of that cannon-ball across the plain through the dense fog and find the fort. Isn't it a daisy? [[CriticalResearchFailure If Cooper had any real knowledge of Nature's ways of doing things, he had a most delicate art in concealing the fact]]. For instance: one of his acute Indian experts, Chingachgook ([[ItIsPronouncedTroPAY pronounced Chicago]], [[NoPronunciationGuide I think]]), has lost the trail of a person he is tracking through the forest. Apparently that trail is hopelessly lost. Neither you nor I could ever have guessed out the way to find it. It was very different with [[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname Chicago]]. Chicago was not stumped for long. He turned a running stream out of its course, and there, in the slush in its old bed, were that person's moccasin-tracks. The current did not wash them away, as it would have done in all other like cases--no, [[MagicalNativeAmerican even the eternal laws of Nature have to vacate]] when Cooper wants to put up a delicate job of woodcraft on the reader.

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Cooper's gift in the way of invention was not a rich endowment; but [[GiftedlyBad such as it was he liked to work it]], he was pleased with the effects, and indeed he did some quite sweet things with it. In his little box of stage properties he kept [[SignatureStyle six or eight cunning devices, tricks, artifices]] for his savages and woodsmen to deceive and circumvent each other with, and he was never so happy as when he was working these innocent things and seeing them go. A favorite one was to make a moccasined person tread in the tracks of the moccasined enemy, and thus hide his own trail. Cooper wore out barrels and barrels of moccasins in working that trick. Another [[{{Trope}} stage-property]] that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was his [[SoMuchForStealth broken twig.]] He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and [[SignatureStyle worked it the hardest. [[SoMuchForStealth hardest]]. [[BreatherEpisode It is a restful chapter chapter]] in [[AuthorCatchphrase any book of his his]] when [[AvertedTrope somebody doesn't step on on]] a dry twig [[SoMuchForStealth and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around.]] Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, [[WithCatlikeTread he is sure to step on a dry twig.]] There may be a hundred handier things to step on, but [[AuthorCatchphrase that wouldn't satisfy Cooper.Cooper]]. [[RunningGag Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig;]] and if he can't do it, go and borrow one. [[OverusedRunningGag In fact, the Leather Stocking Series ought to have been called the Broken Twig Series.]]

I am sorry there is not room to put in a few dozen instances of [[ScarilyCompetentTracker the delicate art of the forest, as practised by Natty Bumppo]] and some of the other Cooperian experts. Perhaps we may venture two or three samples. Cooper was a sailor--a naval officer; yet he gravely tells us how a vessel, driving towards a lee shore in a gale, is steered for a particular spot by her skipper because he knows of an undertow there which will hold her back against the gale and save her. [[DanBrowned For just pure woodcraft, or sailorcraft, or whatever it is, isn't that neat?]] For several years Cooper was daily in the society of artillery, and he ought to have noticed that when a cannon-ball strikes the ground it either buries itself or skips a hundred feet or so; skips again a hundred feet or so--and so on, till finally it gets tired and rolls. Now in one place he loses some "females"--[[InsistentTerminology as he always calls women]]--in the edge of a wood near a plain at night in a fog, on purpose to give Bumppo a chance to show off [[AuthorCatchphrase the delicate art of the forest forest]] before the reader. These mislaid people are hunting for a fort. They hear a cannonblast, and a cannon-ball presently comes rolling into the wood and stops at their feet. To the females this suggests nothing. The case is very different with the admirable Bumppo. I wish I may never know peace again if he doesn't strike out promptly and follow the track of that cannon-ball across the plain through the dense fog and find the fort. Isn't it a daisy? [[CriticalResearchFailure If Cooper had any real knowledge of Nature's ways of doing things, he had a most delicate art in concealing the fact]]. For instance: one of his acute Indian experts, Chingachgook ([[ItIsPronouncedTroPAY pronounced Chicago]], [[NoPronunciationGuide I think]]), has lost the trail of a person he is tracking through the forest. Apparently that trail is hopelessly lost. Neither you nor I could ever have guessed out the way to find it. It was very different with [[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname Chicago]]. Chicago was not stumped for long. He turned a running stream out of its course, and there, in the slush in its old bed, were that person's moccasin-tracks. The current did not wash them away, as it would have done in all other like cases--no, [[MagicalNativeAmerican even the eternal laws of Nature have to vacate]] when Cooper wants to put up a delicate job of woodcraft on the reader.
8th Feb '16 5:01:52 AM Freshmeat
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->''The Pathfinder'' and ''The Deerslayer'' [[MagnumOpus stand at the head of Cooper's novels as artistic creations]]. There are others of his works which contain parts as perfect as are to be found in these, and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome scenes even more thrilling]]. Not one can be compared with either of them as a finished whole.\\

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->''The Pathfinder'' and ''The Deerslayer'' [[MagnumOpus stand at the head of Cooper's novels as artistic creations]].creations. There are others of his works which contain parts as perfect as are to be found in these, and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome scenes even more thrilling]]. Not one can be compared with either of them as a finished whole.\\
7th Feb '16 11:22:02 AM Xoorligan
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A work of art? [[ClicheStorm It has no invention]]; [[RandomEventsPlot it has no order, system, sequence, or result]]; [[RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic it has no lifelikeness]], [[EightDeadlyWords no thrill, no stir]], [[CriticalResearchFailure no seeming of reality]]; [[CharacterDerailment its characters are confusedly drawn]], and by their acts and words they prove that [[InformedAttribute they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are]]; [[HumorDissonancey its humor is pathetic]]; [[{{Narm}} its pathos is funny]]; its conversations are--oh! [[SeinfeldianConversation indescribable]]; [[StrangledByTheRedString its love-scenes odious]]; [[BadWriting its English a crime against the language]].

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A work of art? [[ClicheStorm It has no invention]]; [[RandomEventsPlot it has no order, system, sequence, or result]]; [[RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic it has no lifelikeness]], [[EightDeadlyWords no thrill, no stir]], [[CriticalResearchFailure no seeming of reality]]; [[CharacterDerailment its characters are confusedly drawn]], and by their acts and words they prove that [[InformedAttribute they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are]]; [[HumorDissonancey [[HumorDissonance its humor is pathetic]]; [[{{Narm}} its pathos is funny]]; its conversations are--oh! [[SeinfeldianConversation indescribable]]; [[StrangledByTheRedString its love-scenes odious]]; [[BadWriting its English a crime against the language]].
7th Feb '16 11:21:44 AM Xoorligan
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A work of art? [[ClicheStorm It has no invention]]; [[RandomEventsPlot it has no order, system, sequence, or result]]; [[RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic it has no lifelikeness]], [[EightDeadlyWords no thrill, no stir]], [[CriticalResearchFailure no seeming of reality]]; [[CharacterDerailment its characters are confusedly drawn]], and by their acts and words they prove that [[InformedAttribute they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are]]; [[DudeNotFunny its humor is pathetic]]; [[{{Narm}} its pathos is funny]]; its conversations are--oh! [[SeinfeldianConversation indescribable]]; [[StrangledByTheRedString its love-scenes odious]]; [[BadWriting its English a crime against the language]].

to:

A work of art? [[ClicheStorm It has no invention]]; [[RandomEventsPlot it has no order, system, sequence, or result]]; [[RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic it has no lifelikeness]], [[EightDeadlyWords no thrill, no stir]], [[CriticalResearchFailure no seeming of reality]]; [[CharacterDerailment its characters are confusedly drawn]], and by their acts and words they prove that [[InformedAttribute they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are]]; [[DudeNotFunny [[HumorDissonancey its humor is pathetic]]; [[{{Narm}} its pathos is funny]]; its conversations are--oh! [[SeinfeldianConversation indescribable]]; [[StrangledByTheRedString its love-scenes odious]]; [[BadWriting its English a crime against the language]].
28th Jan '16 7:32:31 PM vifetoile
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The ark is one hundred and forty feet long; the dwelling is ninety feet long. The idea of the Indians is to drop softly and secretly from the arched sapling to the dwelling as the ark creeps along under it at the rate of a mile an hour, and butcher the family. It will take the ark a minute and a half to pass under. It will take the ninety foot dwelling a minute to pass under. Now, then, what did the six Indians do? [[WhatAnIdiot It would take you thirty years to guess, and even then you would have to give it up, I believe]]. Therefore, I will tell you what the Indians did. Their chief, a person of [[OverlyNarrowSuperlative quite extraordinary intellect for a Cooper Indian]], warily watched the canal-boat as it squeezed along under him, and when he had got his calculations fined down to exactly the right shade, as he judged, he let go and dropped. And missed the house! [[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer That is actually what he did.]] He missed the house, and landed in the stern of the scow. It was not much of a fall, yet it knocked him silly. He lay there unconscious. If the house had been ninety-seven feet long he would have made the trip. The fault was Cooper's, not his. The error lay in the construction of the house. Cooper was no architect.

to:

The ark is one hundred and forty feet long; the dwelling is ninety feet long. The idea of the Indians is to drop softly and secretly from the arched sapling to the dwelling as the ark creeps along under it at the rate of a mile an hour, and butcher the family. It will take the ark a minute and a half to pass under. [[LudicrousSpeed It will take the ninety foot dwelling a minute to pass under.under]]. Now, then, what did the six Indians do? [[WhatAnIdiot It would take you thirty years to guess, and even then you would have to give it up, I believe]]. Therefore, I will tell you what the Indians did. Their chief, a person of [[OverlyNarrowSuperlative quite extraordinary intellect for a Cooper Indian]], warily watched the canal-boat as it squeezed along under him, and when he had got his calculations fined down to exactly the right shade, as he judged, he let go and dropped. And missed the house! [[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer That is actually what he did.]] He missed the house, and landed in the stern of the scow. It was not much of a fall, yet it knocked him silly. He lay there unconscious. If the house had been ninety-seven feet long he would have made the trip. The fault was Cooper's, not his. The error lay in the construction of the house. Cooper was no architect.
28th Jan '16 7:16:15 PM vifetoile
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Especially humerous due to its [[ExpospeakGag old-timey]] language. If this was written today it would probably be incredibly boring.



->''The Pathfinder'' and ''The Deerslayer'' [[DamnedByFaintPraise stand at the head of Cooper's novels as artistic creations]]. There are others of his works which contain parts as perfect as are to be found in these, and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome scenes even more thrilling]]. Not one can be compared with either of them as a finished whole.\\

to:

->''The Pathfinder'' and ''The Deerslayer'' [[DamnedByFaintPraise [[MagnumOpus stand at the head of Cooper's novels as artistic creations]]. There are others of his works which contain parts as perfect as are to be found in these, and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome scenes even more thrilling]]. Not one can be compared with either of them as a finished whole.\\
8th Dec '15 10:33:19 AM 434411423124222344
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Added DiffLines:


Especially humerous due to its [[ExpospeakGag old-timey]] language. If this was written today it would probably be incredibly boring.
6th Jun '15 2:04:30 PM AnonFangeekGirl
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# They require that the author shall make the reader [[RuleOfEmpathy feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate]]; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the ''Deerslayer'' tale [[TheScrappy dislikes the good people in it]], is indifferent to the others, and wishes [[RocksFallEveryoneDies they would all get drowned together.]]

to:

# They require that the author shall make the reader [[RuleOfEmpathy feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate]]; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the ''Deerslayer'' tale [[TheScrappy dislikes the good people in it]], [[EightDeadlyWords is indifferent to the others, others]], and wishes [[RocksFallEveryoneDies they would all get drowned together.]]
18th May '15 1:23:18 PM Schol-R-LEA
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The conversations in the Cooper books have a curious sound in our modern ears. To believe that such talk really ever came out of people's mouths would be to believe that there was a time when time was of no value to a person who thought he had something to say; when it was the custom to spread a two-minute remark out to ten; when a man's mouth was a rolling-mill, and busied itself all day long in turning four-foot pigs of thought into thirty-foot bars of conversational railroad iron by attenuation; when subjects were seldom faithfully stuck to, but the talk wandered all around and arrived nowhere; when conversations consisted mainly of irrelevancies, with here and there a relevancy, a relevancy with an embarrassed look, as not being able to explain how it got there.

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The conversations in the Cooper books have a curious sound in our modern ears. To believe that such talk really ever came out of people's mouths would be to believe that there was a time when [[TalkingIsAFreeAction time was of no value to a person who thought he had something to say; say]]; when it was the custom to spread a two-minute remark out to ten; when a man's mouth was a rolling-mill, and busied itself all day long in turning four-foot pigs of thought into thirty-foot bars of conversational railroad iron by attenuation; when subjects were seldom faithfully stuck to, but the talk wandered all around and arrived nowhere; when conversations consisted mainly of irrelevancies, with here and there a relevancy, a relevancy with an embarrassed look, as not being able to explain how it got there.
20th Feb '15 9:19:17 AM MasterWonderMage
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For the little-known Part II, see '''[[http://www.strangebeautiful.com/papers/twain-coopers-prose-style.pdf Fenimore Cooper's Further Literary Offences]]: [[SnarkBait Cooper's Prose Style]].''' (1895) (PDF, 6 pg)

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For the little-known Part II, see '''[[http://www.strangebeautiful.com/papers/twain-coopers-prose-style.com/other-texts/twain-coopers-prose-style.pdf Fenimore Cooper's Further Literary Offences]]: [[SnarkBait Cooper's Prose Style]].''' (1895) (PDF, 6 pg)
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