This excellent answer by @CHEESE linked to a Mark Twain's "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses".

SPOILER ALERT: That essay is extremely critical of Cooper's work.

Did later literary analysis largely agree with Mark Twain's criticism of Cooper or largely contradict it?

  • 1
    Might also be worth asking if "later literary analysis" agrees with Twain's criticism of Jane Austin.
    – user111
    Jan 19, 2017 at 15:57
  • 2
    To the closevoter: this isn't opinion based. It's basically "Did anybody say this about Cooper's work". Nothing opinion-based there.
    – user72
    Jan 19, 2017 at 17:24
  • Could you edit this question to make it more self-contained, by adding either a summary of or some quotes from Mark Twain's article?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 21, 2017 at 13:31
  • @Randal'Thor - summary: "JFC's writing sucks. Here's a long list of reasons". I'm not sure I can condense the reasons, to be honest.
    – DVK
    Jan 21, 2017 at 13:40

1 Answer 1


It appears that most later critics think that Twain's criticism was unfair, and possibly intended as humor.

John McWilliams writes:

Hilarious though Twain's essay is, it is valid only within its own narrow and sometimes misapplied criteria.1

Some other sources cited by Wikipedia appear to claim that the essay was not intended as a criticism at all, but as humor, because Twain's criticisms are not realistic. In this essay, Twain is "Impos[ing] the standards of Realism on Romance," which is humorously incongruous.2

1 "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses (Introduction)". Twain's Indians. University of Virginia.
2 Andriano, Joeseph. The Routledge Encyclopedia of Mark Twain p. 287 (1993)

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