the Leather-Stocking series, is glory enough.
In his perception of masculine character, Cooper
ranks with Fielding
His sailors, his scouts and spies, his good and bad Indians
, are as veritable human figures as Squire Western.
Long Tom Coffin
, Harvey Birch
-Eye, and Chingachgook are physically and morally true to life itself.
Read the Leather-Stocking books in the order of the events described, beginning with The Deerslayer
, then The last of the Mohicans, the Pathfinder, the pioneers
, and ending with the vast darkening horizon of The Prairie
and the death of the trapper, and one will feel how natural and inevitable are the fates of the personages and the alterations in the life of the frontier.
These books vary in their poetic quality and in the degree of their realism, but to watch the evolution of the leading figure is to see human life in its actual texture.
Clever persons and pedantic persons have united to find fault with certain elements of Cooper
's art. Mark Twain
, in one of his least inspired moments, selected Cooper
's novels for attack.
Every grammar school teacher is ready to point out that his style is often prolix and his sentences are sometimes ungrammatical.
Amateurs even criticize Cooper
's seamanship, although it seemed