Posted by Gayle on March 19, 1998 at 15:02:58:
Note from She-Who-Has-Tracked-Le-Longue-Carabine on the recorded history of our tribal meetings:
Little by little I'm getting through the Mohicanland archives, and the more I read, the sorrier I am that I didn't come into the camp at least a year earlier. There have been some really interesting discussions. Although my entry into the field is awfully late, I would like to comment on a couple of the posts I found particularly interesting.
Re E. Lane's COOPER, CHALLENGES, and CAVES OF 20 May and 16 June, 1997: I was really glad to see some analysis of Cooper and his intentions in the writing of the Leatherstocking Tales. For all the reading and analyzing I have done, I never came across the idea that the Last of the Mohicans was representative of the Last of the Coopers as well. Good food for thought!
The speculation on Hawkeye's dialect was neat, too. I am convinced that, although Natty never had anything good to say about the Dutch, Cooper envisioned Natty Bumppo as being of Dutch heritage. I was following that train of thought rather loosely until I started digging for a review of The Deerslayer by Honore de Balzac. That quest led me to one of de Balzac's books in which one of the words used consistently by the native Dutch was "Anan?". It means "I don't understand the word you used", and Natty would always query with it when he ran up against vocabulary that was over his head.
There was only one reference I could find that Natty had ever had any formal education at all. He was saying that he never spent more days inside the doors of a school than he was forced to. However, he was an insatiable absorber of vocabulary, no matter how erroneous his interpretation of the meaning of words he heard other people use. One of my favorites was his statement that he "peppered the rascals intrinsically" with his rifle. It sounded good until you tried to figure it out. He also was always having somebody do something "judgmentally" when he meant "strategically". The interesting thing to me is that, even though he may not have used the precisely correct words, one always knew exactly what he meant. That was a remarkable skill on the part of Cooper, as far as I'm concerned.
Another section of the archives which interested me was the short exchange on revising the works of James Fenimore Cooper and rewriting the roles of his characters for political correctness. I won't touch that one with a ten-foot-pole, but I was fascinated that it was noticed and commented on. Cooper must have turned over in his grave when that movie came out.
There have been endless great suggestions on good books to read. I haven't seen where anybody mentionned The Deerslayer, The Pathfinder, Last of the Mohicans, The Pioneers or The Prairie, though. Must reading for anyone who wants to know who the characters really were.
This website is a goldmine of good stuff for anybody who is interested in ANYTHING about the 1700s!
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