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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Carlyle's laugh and other surprises, V. James Fenimore Cooper (search)
mented, besieged in forts, captured by Indians, but the same monotony prevails. So far as the real interest of Cooper's story goes, it might usually be destitute of a single female, that sex appearing chiefly as a bundle of dry goods to be transported, or as a fainting appendage to the skirmish. The author might as well have written the romance of an express parcel. His long introductions he shared with the other novelists of the day, or at least with Scott, for both Miss Austen and Miss Edgeworth are more modern in this respect and strike more promptly into the tale. His loose-jointed plots are also shared with Scott, but Cooper knows as surely as his rival how to hold the reader's attention when once grasped. Like Scott's, too, is his fearlessness in giving details, instead of the vague generalizations which were then in fashion, and to which his academical critics would have confined him. He is indeed already vindicated in some respects by the advance of the art he pursued; w