James Fenimore Cooper: The Critical Heritage

By George Dekker; John P. Williams | Go to book overview

THE BRAVO

1831

23.

Unsigned notice New-York Mirror

x (February 1832), 262

American reviewers were frequently less approving of Cooper’s republicanism than were European liberals like Leigh Hunt (No. 21b) or Belinsky (No. 32a), both of whom responded enthusiastically to The Bravo.

Mr Cooper, the novelist. —We give place to the following, partly because it emanates from a most respectable source, and partly because there is some coincidence of opinion between the writer and ourselves. Mr. Cooper has done much for himself and his country; but, in our humble judgment, his fame will be as little promoted by unqualified eulogy as severe criticism. He has had the misfortune to be lauded to the very verge of his desert—we had almost said of his desire; and his surviving such friendship is proof enough of extraordinary talent. He holds, undoubtedly, a conspicuous place in American literature; we think he has fairly won the distinction; and, albeit his honors are not very meekly worn, we are free to render much homage to his genius. But we do protest against the indiscriminate plastering usually bestowed on his writings. We like the Spy, the Pioneers, the Last of the Mohicans, the Pilot, and the Red Rover, they are very good books, in their way. It is an honor to our country to have produced them; and although had Scott never lived, these would, probably, never have been written; still, but for Scott, they would rank high among modern novels; but they have their faults, and in no stinted measure.

When, however, the poor Bravo comes in for a share (a very full share) of this commendation, we must take the liberty of dissenting.

-167-

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