The Deerslayer

The Deerslayer

The Deerslayer

The Deerslayer

Synopsis

The Deerslayer (1841) is the last of the Leatherstocking Tales, but the first in the development of the hero Natty Bumppo. This novel marks Cooper's return to historical romance after more than a decade given largely to social and political commentary. This edition provides the authoritative text of the novel and prefaces to The Deerslayer (1841 and 1850) and to the Leatherstocking Tales (1850).

Excerpt

This book has not been written, without many misgivings as to its probable reception. To carry one and the same character through five several works would seem to be a wilful over drawing on the good nature of the public, and many persons may very reasonably suppose it an act, of itself, that ought to invite a rebuke. To this natural objection, the author can only say that, if he has committed a grave fault on this occasion, his readers are in some measure answerable for it. the favorable manner in which the more advanced career, and the death of Leather Stocking were received, has created, in the mind of the author at least, a sort of necessity for giving some account of his younger days. in short the pictures, of his life, such as they are, were already so complete as to excite some little desire to see the 'study,' from which they have all been drawn.

"The Leather-Stocking Tales," form now something like a drama in five acts; complete as to material and design, though quite probably very incomplete as to execution. Such as they are, the reading world has them before it. Their author hopes, should it decide that this particular act, the last in execution, though the first in the order of perusal, is not the best of the series, it will also come to the conclusion that it is not absolutely the worst. More than once, he has been tempted to burn his manuscript, and to turn to some other subject, though he has met with an encouragement, in the course of his labors, of a character so singular, as to be worth mentioning. An anonymous letter from England, has reached him, written as he thinks by a lady, in which he is urged to do almost the very thing he had already more than half executed; a request that he has been willing enough to construe into a sign that his attempt will be partially forgiven, if not altogether commended.

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