- The origins of fiction and American identity: a comparison of Irving and Cooper -
In this assignment I am going to focus on the origin of American fiction and specifically, I am going to talk about two famous authors who are characteristic of this type of literature. The purpose of this essay is comparing these two writers through their works: Rip Van Winkle and The last of the Mohicans. These writers are Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper. Washington Irving was born on 1783 (Manhattan) and he is consider as “the father of American fiction” and the creator of the short story.
Irving did multiple travels to the “Old Continent”, maybe because of that it is said that his literature is Europeanized. But his most famous and
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This characteristic could be because he grew up in Cooperstown, a village which was founded in the frontier by his father and it is very probable that the chosen place for The last of the Mohicans, the frontier, derived from his personal experience in his birthplace. However, Irving was a man who enjoys of the travels and maybe his absence in his country makes that he was not as involve as Cooper. Another characteristic is that Cooper uses the romance between the characters of his story; nevertheless, Irving creates his main character as a man that loves everybody but his wife. A valid explanation for that it could be that Irving, as I mentioned, is not very involve with the events of that period in his country, and also his Europeanized literature makes that his thoughts about heroes still being the typical stereotype of the English literature, but as William Makepeace said about Irving: "He is the first of the American humorists, as he is almost the first of the American writers". That is, Irving mix these factors (humour, typical heroes, Europeanized literature) and creates Rip Van Winkle a totally antihero, to show that turbulent political and social period from a comical perspective but at the same time reported those events. Therefore, we can appreciate how he keeps the rules and order, which means, there is a lack of originality, which is a characteristic of the neoclassicism. Opposing to