Okie, now that five…

Okie, now that five people have sent me copies of Twain's funny essay on the literary offenses of Cooper, I figure I'd better tell the rest of you that yes, I've read it, and yes, it's funny. To be fair to Cooper, his story isn't bad -- it's just the prose style that drives me mad. And that may be more a matter of taste than anything else.

David wrote to suggest that "maybe Cooper was just appropriating this more or less straight from Scott, notions of plagiarism & copyright law not being what they are today" -- maybe. I just don't know enough to know if that's plausible. Cooper did read other novelists, I know, so it's certainly possible that he'd read the Scott. It'll be interesting to see where he takes this Heyward/Cora/Alice storyline -- the girls' father (who of course, married a half-breed woman), interestingly enough, is providing a counterpoint, saying that he hopes Heyward isn't rejecting Cora because of the racial thing, and Heyward is forced to deny that reaction vehemently, even while he knows damn well, internally, that that's exactly what's going on.

Cooper is constantly having some of his characters chide other characters for being prejudiced about race (mostly about the Mohican Indians), while at the same time, reinforcing all those racial prejudices in other parts of the story (the Iroquois characters are cardboard villains). Weird. Is Cooper just internally conflicted himself? Or am I not getting something he's trying to do?

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