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Autograph Publishing Contract Signed by James Fenimore Cooper For His Last Novel - The Ways of the Hour

COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE

Published by Cooperstown 1 page, quarto n.d (after 1848), 1848
From James Pepper Rare Books, Inc., ABAA (Santa Barbara, CA, U.S.A.)

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James Fenimore CooperÕs own personally handwritten working draft for his contract with publisher George P. Putnam to publish an original work of fiction which eventually was published as The Ways of the Hour, CooperÕs last novel. This is a full page in CooperÕs hand and it refers to Putnam by name as publisher and bears the full name of J. Fenimore Cooper twice and the last name Cooper four times. A long and interesting contract that surprisingly reads much like a modern publishing agreement with Cooper intimately involved in the publishing process. Cooper agrees to produce Òa new work of fictionÓ and that he will provide Putnam with the finished printing Òstereotype platesÓ for a novel Òcustomary size, in two volumes duodecimo.Ó The contract goes on in great detail about royalties, PutnamÕs rights as publisher, fees, and penalties, and that at the end of two years that PutnamÕs license to publish the novel will end, and that the printing plates will be returned to Cooper. When the New York publishing firm of Wiley & Putnam dissolved in 1847, George P. Putnam (1814-1872) established his own house and built up a literary backlist that forms the foundation of mid-nineteenth-century American letters. Putnam brought out a uniform edition of Washington Irving and soon thereafter began to publish CooperÕs internationally famous novels in a standard edition, beginning with The Spy and The Pilot in April and October 1849 (BAL 3932-33); twelve novels (including The Last of the Mohicans) were ultimately re-issued between 1849 and 1851. Noted Cooper scholar, Warren S. Walker, notes that this ambitious final novel that Cooper Òevidences his concern about Ôthe ways of the hourÕ: lack of principle as shown in flagrant abuse of justice by elected judges, incompetent jurors, culpable.lawyers, and an irresponsible press; an unreasoning worship of mass opinion; and failure to pursue the truth beneath the trappings of appearance. The vehicle for exploring the sociological theme is a mid-1840s murder trial assuming the pattern of a murder mystery, a Ôwhodunit,Õ complete with aliases, cloak-and-dagger schemes, a ÔrevivedÕ corpse, a missing treasure, a series of Ôjailbreaks,Õ bribery, and a madwoman.Ó Cooper was the first American novelist to receive international acclaim and AmericaÕs first best-selling author. American publishing agreements from the first half of the 19th century and especially from a major figure like Cooper (and drafted by himself) are of the greatest rarity. Bookseller Inventory # 13808J

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Autograph Publishing Contract Signed by ...

Publisher: Cooperstown 1 page, quarto n.d (after 1848)

Publication Date: 1848

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Staff: James Pepper, Rebecca Traver, Deborah Sanford. Member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America

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TERMS: Our Telephone Number is 805-963-1025. Our address is James Pepper Rare Books, Inc., 3463 State Street, Suite 271, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. Our email address is pepbooks@aol.com. We have an answering machine for telephone messages outside of business hours. California residents must add state sales tax


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