Books: Patent Leatherstocking

THE LETTERS AND JOURNALS OF JAMES FENIMORE COOPER (2 vols., 444 pp. & 420 pp.)—edited by James Franklin Beard—Belknap Press of Harvard University ($20).

The first American novelist to enjoy literary success in Europe was an ex-naval officer from upstate New York named James Fenimore Cooper. His father, a rich landowner, founded Cooperstown, N.Y., where Abner Doubleday was to invent baseball, but where Cooper made an even greater invention—the noble red man and the heroic myth of the American frontier. On Cooper's novels of the New York wilderness—The Last of the Mohicans, The...

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