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Carl Van Doren (1885–1950).  The American Novel.  1921.


Page 47

by those subsequent critics who called the Indians mere squalid savages. That Natty Bumppo, to the contemporary eye doubtless hard and crude enough, should have been made a hero is no more remarkable than that the same fortune should have come to Daniel Boone or Robinson Crusoe, plain men who like Natty clung to the dearest human virtues in the face of a nature which would as readily have destroyed as dignified them. And finally, the unending charm of these diversified adventures inheres not only in the narrative itself but in the human disposition which cherishes memories and hopes of a larger experience, free, abundant, glorious, and on but casual provocation will follow a great storyteller to the ends of the earth.
  The Pathfinder and The Deerslayer seem to have left Cooper nearly exhausted, for his last decade saw him rise but once above the sensationalism which always menaced the romancers of his school and the contentiousness to which he himself was prone. Most of the novels of the period do not deserve even to be called by name. He had still enough energy, however, to undertake and to complete his trilogy of Littlepage Manuscripts, Satanstoe (1845), The Chainbearer (1845), and The Redskins (1846). Having tried the autobiographical method with Miles Wallingford in Afloat and Ashore, Cooper now repeated it through three generations of a New York family. In the last he involved himself in the question of anti-rentism then stirring—of course fiercely on the side of the landlords—and produced a book both fantastic and dull; the second is better by one of Cooper’s most powerful figures, the squatter Thousandacres, another backwoods



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