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James Fenimore Cooper

1789–1851
James Fenimore Cooper by John Wesley Jarvis, 1822. (New York State Historical Association; Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Major works:
The Leatherstocking Tales: The PioneersThe Last of the MohicansThe PrairieThe PathfinderThe Deerslayer

Read an excerpt from

The Deerslayer

James Fenimore Cooper

But the most striking peculiarities of this scene, were its solemn solitude, and sweet repose. On all sides, wherever the eye turned, nothing met it, but the mirror-like surface of the lake, the placid void of heaven, and the dense setting of wood. So rich and fleecy were the outlines of the forest, that scarce an opening could be seen, the whole visible earth, from the rounded mountain-top, to the water’s edge, presenting one unvaried hue of unbroken verdure. As if vegetation were not satisfied with a triumph so complete, the trees overhung the lake, itself, shooting out towards the light, and there were miles along its eastern shore, where a boat might have pulled beneath the branches, of dark, Rembrandt-looking hem-locks, “quivering aspens,” and melancholy pines. In a word, the hand of man had never yet defaced, or deformed any part of this native scene, which lay bathed in the sun-light, a glorious picture of affluent forest grandeur, softened by the balminess of June, and relieved by the beautiful variety afforded by the presence of so broad an expanse of water.

Read a passage from The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper
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