In The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, historical romance is apparent through settings, characters and plots. Cooper is considered by many critics to be the father of the American historical romance. Fred Lewis Patee said, “Not only was Cooper the pioneer (of the historical romance) in America, and thus worthy of the highest praise, but in many respects his romances have never been surpassed.” (212) Cooper celebrated the creative spirit of the individual and had a deep appreciation for nature. He was a romantic who enjoyed the mysteriousness and exoticness of the frontier. He favored the use of emotions over reason. Through his romantic writings, Cooper is able to captivate the reader and led them on journey through his imaginary world.
The setting in The Last of the Mohicans exhibits Cooper’s historical romantic writing. The novel takes place in the American frontier. It is a place of “…wild and virgin nature.” (Roundtree 52) The immense beauty and threat of danger from its’ terrain creates an exotic impression on the reader. The mystique of the frontier entices the reader and allows their imagination to soar. Fred Lewis Pattee expresses his feelings on the use of the setting in “The Historical Romance: Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans,” when he says: At every step throughout the romance the reader finds himself in dim, mysterious forests that stretch on every side into the unknown. All of the nameless thrills of a wild life under the open sky sweeps over him. In some mysterious way Cooper makes us feel his environments, and catch to the full all that they hold of mystery and romance. It is a new world that he takes us into, with a language all its own. We are permitted to learn the alphabet of this language… We are taught to catch the sounds of wild life in the woods; and we tremble to feel that perhaps all about us are malignant beings from whom it is impossible...
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