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The American Indian as a Souvenir: Antiquarianism, Exoticism, and Sentimentalism in Cooper's "The Pioneers"

Taylor, Michael

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In his 1828 publication, Notions of the Americans: Picked up by a Traveling Bachelor, James Fenimore Cooper laments, “I have never seen a nation so much alike in my life. . . . There is no costume for the peasant, (there is scarcely a peasant at all,) no wig for the judge, no baton for the general, no diadem for the Chief Magistrate,” arguing that this universal sameness in the United States proves one of its greatest obstacles to composing an estimable national literature. Cooper’s complaint, however, seems anachronistic, and thus hints at an almost self-marketing scheme in that Cooper had already published the first three novels—The Pioneers, The Last of the Mohicans, and The Prairie—and was yet to publish the remaining two novels of his Leather-Stocking Tales, in which he had already discovered a costume more exotic than that of any European peasant or judge: the American Indian. Driven by this sensed self-promotion, and bolstered by the theoretical backdrop of Susan Stewart’s work, On Longing, my thesis explores Cooper’s utilization of the literary devices of antiquarianism, exoticism, and sentimentalism to transform the American Indian into an international souvenir.

Item Type: Master's thesis
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2012 12:01
Date: 2012
Faculties / Institutes: Neuphilologische Fakultät > Anglistisches Seminar
Subjects: 420 English
Uncontrolled Keywords: American Indians , Native Americans , James Fenimore Cooper , The Pioneers , Antiquarianism , Exoticism , Sentimentalism , Souvenir
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