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Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences

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By: (1835-1910)

Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences by Mark Twain is a hilarious and scathing critique of the writing style of James Fenimore Cooper. Twain does not hold back in his criticism, pointing out numerous examples of poor storytelling, lack of logic, and absurd plot developments in Cooper's works.

In his signature witty and sarcastic style, Twain identifies the many ways in which Cooper fails to adhere to basic literary principles. He highlights the author's tendency to rely on far-fetched coincidences, unrealistic character motivations, and nonsensical plot twists. Twain also takes issue with Cooper's use of excessive and unnecessary detail, as well as his repetitive and convoluted prose.

Despite the harshness of his criticism, Twain's analysis of Cooper's shortcomings is both entertaining and thought-provoking. The book serves as a valuable resource for writers and readers alike, offering insights into the importance of good storytelling and the consequences of failing to adhere to fundamental literary principles.

Overall, Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences is a must-read for anyone interested in the art of writing and the elements that make a story compelling. Twain's wit and wisdom make this book a delightful and enlightening read, even for those unfamiliar with Cooper's works.

Book Description:
This is Mark Twain's vicious and amusing review of Fenimore Cooper's literary art. It is still read widely in academic circles. Twain's essay, Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (often spelled "Offences") (1895), particularly criticized The Deerslayer and The Pathfinder. Twain wrote at the beginning of the essay: 'In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record.' Twain listed 19 rules 'governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction', 18 of which Cooper violates in The Deerslayer. (Introduction by Wikipedia and John Greenman)

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