News, Events and Related Societies

Research Projects Under Way

"Cooper Biography"

Wayne Franklin (University of Connecticut) is under contract with Yale University Press to publish his two-volume scholarly biography of Cooper. Volume One was published in 2010 and Volume Two is anticipated shortly. We now have, at last, a massively-researched and most-welcome biography of Cooper, which places him firmly in the center of the literary, cultural, and political life of the antebellum Republic.

Editing Works with Few or No Witnesses Other than the First Printed Edition.

Jay Elliott, chief textual editor and I have discussed seeking the CSE seal for projects which may have only a single authorial witness, the first printed text.  For some important late novels like Wing and Wing (no known holograph; 1842), The Crater (no known holograph; 1847), and The Sea Lions (3 AMS pages; 1849) we have little if any of the holograph nor authorial editions after the first American and British printings.

CE textual editor Robert D. Madison has raised the possibility of facsimile editions for these, with thorough Historical Introductions and necessarily brief Textual Commentaries.  Alternatively, CE chief textual editor James Elliott suggested scanning the single printed witness to make it consistent with other AMS volumes, and carrying out whatever light but important critical editing would be required to correct errors and respond to possible variants in the plates.  And collations would probably show variants, some possibly authorial, between the first American and first British editions.

Beyond these novels, there would remain a half dozen or so worthwhile projects involving various of Cooper's historical and polemical works; critical editions of A Letter to His Countrymen (1834) and of The American Democrat (1838) would be invaluable to scholars, though again no holographs or revised editions are known to provide witnesses for critical editions.  Cooper's various nautical writings in the late 1830s and 1840s might be candidates for full scholarly editions. 

Call for Papers

The James Fenimore Cooper Society organizes papers for the annual American Literature Association Conference, and assists with the biennial Cooper Conference at Oneonta and Cooperstown. For information, contact me at

Related Societies

The Association of Documentary Editing brings together textual scholars from history and literature to discuss and publish on issues of how holograph documents are best preserved and made available to wide audiences.  The ADE holds an annual meeting, circulates a useful ADE E-Newsletter including grants and job openings, and publishes an annual Scholarly Editing. Contact

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Last modified: September 08, 2015 15:55:26