James Swenson's Reviews > The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
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Oct 06, 2011

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Read in June, 2011

I think this classic novel used to be better than it is now.

Partly, this is because, since Mark Twain famously crucified James Fenimore Cooper in print, I'm afraid to take too much pleasure in anything Cooper wrote. [If you haven't read that review before, go do so now: it is masterful -- and hilarious. "There have been daring people in the world who claimed that Cooper could write English, but they are all dead now...."]

On the other hand, it's partly because society has changed. Though we can appreciate the meeting of cultures between Chinkgachgook and Natty Bumppo, it is not really revolutionary now to argue that not all Native Americans are evil, nor that acts which are moral in one context may be immoral in another. But we spend so much time working on these ideas, listening to Bumppo alternate between declaiming religious philosophy and spraying rustic dialect, that I tend to lose track of the plot, and lose interest in the characters. Let's spend our time reading something else instead -- maybe something by Mark Twain.

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