Call for Contributions to The James Fenimore Cooper Society Journal Special Issues: Celebrating the Two Hundredth Anniversaries of The Pioneers and The Pilot
The James Fenimore Cooper Society Journal is the official publication of the James Fenimore Cooper Society. Published twice a year, it promotes the study of the life and works of James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851). The Cooper Society draws its membership from scholars and enthusiasts from about a dozen countries.
2023 and 2024 mark the 200th anniversaries of the publication of two of Cooper’s most important novels: The Pioneers and The Pilot. Published in America in February 1823, The Pioneers, or The Sources of the Susquehanna: A Descriptive Tale was the first of five novels which became known as The Leather-Stocking Tales. The Pioneers is the fourth novel in the chronology of the tales’ plots. Set in the 1790s on the rapidly expanding western New York frontier, the novel introduced the legendary frontiersman, Natty Bumppo, also known as Leather-stocking.
Having drawn on his own boyhood experiences in frontier Cooperstown for The Pioneers, Cooper would reach into his nautical background to explore another frontier in The Pilot; A Tale of the Sea, published in America in January 1824. Cooper had gone to sea as a teenager and chosen the U.S. Navy for his first career, serving as a midshipman from 1808-1810. The Pilot, based on some of the exploits of John Paul Jones during the American Revolution,is considered to be the first work of nautical fiction in American literature. Cooper saw his tale as one that seamen would appreciate for its fidelity, yet landsmen could understand.
We invite proposals from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, including American Studies, Sociology, History, Literary and Cultural Studies, Environmental Humanities, Philosophy, and Drama.
Proposals on The Pioneers (1823) might address scholarly topics such as:
- Ecology and conservation
- Land claims
- Native American acculturation and Christianity
- Cooper’s literary responses to the frontier and American national identity
- Cooper’s fictional portrayal of Cooperstown
- Race and contact zones
- The literary or cultural legacy of The Pioneers
- Pedagogical approaches to teaching The Pioneers and the early Leather-Stocking Tales
Proposals on The Pilot (1824) might address scholarly topics such as:
- The Pilot as the first major work of American nautical fiction
- The influence of The Pilot in the nineteenth century or beyond
- Cooper’s portrayals of coastscape, seascape, or the nautical environment
- Cooper’s seamanship
- Representations of John Paul Jones or naval warfare
- Patriotism and the American Revolution
- Pedagogical approaches to teaching The Pilot and Cooper’s sea fiction
Please send proposals of 250-500 words, including the contribution’s anticipated length, to Editor Steven P. Harthorn (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Associate Editor Christopher Allan Black (email@example.com). Proposals for the special issue on The Pioneers are due by June 30, 2022, with accepted articles due by January 31, 2023. Proposals for the special issue on The Pilot are due by June 30, 2023, with accepted articles due January 31, 2024. Suggested length for articles is 7500 words or fewer.
Feel free to send any queries about topic or scope. We look forward to reading how Cooper scholars are reflecting and responding to the important achievement of these two novels in American literary history.