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Autobiography of a Pocket Handkerchief

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  50 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
In this rare and unusual text, a pocket handkerchief tells its story—from flax field to its creation in Paris, and on to respectable Manhattan society. After passing through many hands, it is finally reunited with its original maker. Significant for its surprising narrative voice and its exploration of French and American cultures, this delightfully quirky satire was Coope ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by Hesperus Press (first published 1843)
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Debbie Zapata
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gutenberg
I noticed this title on the James Fenimore Cooper author page at Project Gutenberg and thought the same thing anyone reading this is probably thinking now: WHAT?!

I have a fondness for unusual old books, so I added it to my someday lists. When it came time to read the book (originally serialized in four issues of Graham's Magazine of 1843) I was expecting a tongue-in-cheek bit of fluff. But according to the very interesting forward notes by the secretary of the JFC Society, who transcribed this w
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I was pleasantly surprised and delighted by this book. How original, the story is narrated by the hankerchief itself, and through this, Cooper gave us a nice view of politics, culture and social life in France and America. it reminded me of Tim Obrian's The Things They Carried...
Apr 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
In all honesty, I thought this book was awful. I was expecting something funny, witty, intelligent,but I don't feel that it was any of the above. Perhaps, I will one day re-read it, maybe I missed the point....
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a quirky little book that is narrated by a pocket handkerchief that remembers it's time growing in the cotton fields, being picked, dried and woven and being carried and transferred from owner to owner. As our narrator moves through French and American society we get an interesting insight into the people and characters that dominate and the duties and expectations of the era, told through the innocent eyes of an outsider with a sense of light hearted wit that would've been lacking had w ...more
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Critic Thomas Bender(great name) didn't like it.I did.
Susan Marie  Molloy
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, satire
Here’s a surprisingly enchanting novelette that speaks about society from the viewpoint of a (female) handkerchief, and it was written by James Fenimore Cooper, which piqued my interest.

This story is a satire on the subject of egotistically trying to achieve a higher social status, and was originally written as a series that was first published in Graham’s Magazine in 1843.

The story takes the reader on a double trans-Atlantic voyage, narrated by a fancy linen and lace handkerchief. It cleverly
Oct 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'll be honest; there were parts I really struggled with and 4 stars is maybe a bit generous.

The parts I could understand, I really enjoyed. The moment I read the title in the book shop I knew I had to buy this book and I'm really glad I did. For such a short story and for the time it was written there is a wealth of feeling and emotion; the last couple of chapters were fabulously well done.

I think its something to do with having a completely helpless narrator, I felt so bad for Adrianne and the
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a delight! This story was part of a compilation of short stories I am currently reading. I almost skipped it, as it was the longest of the stories and the title was less than intriguing. I'm so glad I gave it a shot! The language was wonderful and the characters well-defined. A fun little gem.
Lauren Perotto
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Kudos to the author for being able to write such an interesting story from the point of view of a handkerchief.
Dec 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Sweet storyline.
Carolyn Clay
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read in a long time! Excellent vocabulary, witty, insightful, & God-honoring.
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Definitely an interesting read with high language and hidden political/moral truths. Cooper weaves a fine story and represents his views of America and her people.
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James Fenimore Cooper was a popular and prolific American writer. He is best known for his historical novel The Last of the Mohicans, one of the Leatherstocking Tales stories, and he also wrote political fiction, maritime fiction, travelogues, and essays on the American politics of the time. His daughter Susan Fenimore Cooper was also a writer.

* The Leatherstocking Tales
* The Littlepage Man
More about James Fenimore Cooper...

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“To those who live in the narrow circle of human interests and human feelings, there ever exists, unheeded, almost unnoticed, before their very eyes, the most humbling proofs of their own comparative insignificance in the scale of creation, which, in the midst of their admitted mastery over the earth and all it contains, it would be well for them to consider, if they would obtain just views of what they are and what they were intended to be.” 1 likes
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