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Twain, in a bitingly funny way, uses the essay to point and mock (but specially mock) every failure he perceived in Cooper's writing, which include, but are not limited to, poor pacing, overblown style, flat characterization, Plot Holes galore, excessive clichés, and profound ignorance of the themes represented. Twain used to work as a steamboat pilot before turning into literature, so Cooper's shallow understanding (by his standards) in sailing, navigation, and dealing with nature irritates him as much as the incredibly bad way those are written about. He also mocks the Marty Stu nature of the protagonist of the Deerslayer novel, in what could be considered a proto-sporking.
The full essay can be read in the Source tab above; please Blue Shift it as much as possible.
For the little-known Part II, see Fenimore Cooper's Further Literary Offences: Cooper's Prose Style. (1895) (PDF, 6 pg). It explains the 114 offenses that, according to Twain, Cooper inflicted on the literary art with his writings, a point that wasn't explored in the original essay.
For an opposite opinion, see Fenimore Cooper's Literary Defenses.
This page needs more trope entries. You can help this wiki by adding more entries or expanding current ones.
- Bad Writing Index: According to Twain, these stories were a potpourri of all these tropes.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: According to Twain, you felt no good feeling for anyone in the work.
- Informed Attribute: Twain mentioned the way characters sounded rarely matched what their characters were supposed to be like.
- Overused Running Gag: The snapping of a dry twig to alert everyone in the area.
- Praising Shows You Don't Watch: Twain accuses the critics that praised Cooper's work of not having actually read his books.