All-Male Queer Interracial Families in the Wilderness
James Fenimore Cooper pioneered the use of distinctive American scenes and idioms as central motifs in fiction. Before 1800, popular literature in the United States emulated European fare, often set in far-away places and times. Along with Charles Brockden Brown, Catherine Maria Sedgwick, and Washington Irving, Cooper began describing local scenery, figures in recent memory such as George Washington and John Paul Jones, and the provincial concerns of Anglo-American citizens. His influence on American literary and popular culture is difficult to overstate. With The Pioneers in 1823, he invented the frontiersman as a folk hero, the literary forefather of such popular legends of the nineteenth century as Kit Carson, Deadwood Dick, and Nick of the Woods. Even such twentieth-century icons as The Lone Ranger and Tonto, or the white/Indian partnerships in any number of filmed Westerns from Hollywood, owe their familiarity to Cooper’s originals. With The Pilot in 1824, Cooper invented the sea tale, staking out the literary territory that Melville, Stoddard, and Conrad would later find so productive. Almost any action-adventure story in the 200-year history of the United States—stories of American masculinity triumphing over, well, almost everything—can be traced to Cooper’s two-dozen tales of the sea and the North American wilderness.1 Many of them were best sellers, earning Cooper a fortune and an unprecedented degree of celebrity status in the United States and Europe.
KeywordsLove Story White Settler Racial Purity Erotic Interest Biracial Identity
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