Thursday, September 15, 2011

James Fenimore Cooper

‘…One day as we went home, our dear Mother said, "Who do you suppose has been here this morning? Sir Walter Scott!" 

Sir Walter had just arrived in Paris, seeking materials for his Life of Napoleon. It was very kind in him to call on your grandfather so soon. They had some interesting interviews.
The same morning General Lafayette made a long call on my Father. But that was a common occurrence.

While Sir Walter Scott was in Paris the Princess Galitzin gave him a very grand reception. It was a great event of the winter; all the fashionable people of Paris were there. As Sir Walter says in his diary, "the Scotch and American lions took the field together." But of course Sir Walter was the lion-in-chief. All the ladies wore Scotch plaids as dresses, scarfs, ribbons, etc., etc…’

The text above is from “Correspondence of James Fenimore Cooper”, edited by Cooper himself.  Cooper and Scott were to become friends.  Cooper, who modeled his second novel “The Spy” on Scott’s Waverley novels.  From the introduction to “The Spy” (Nathaniel Barnes, editor):

In these narrative gifts, as well as in the robustness of his own character,
Cooper was not unlike Sir Walter Scott. He once modestly referred
to himself as "a chip from Scott's block" and has frequently been
called "the American Scott."
James Fenimore Cooper was born on September 15, 1789.

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