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 James Fenimore Cooper 
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Post James Fenimore Cooper
I just noticed that no one has posted anything from the sea tales of James Fenimore Cooper. I am ashamed to admit that other than some of the novels about Natty Bumppo which I read as a kid, I have never read any of his sea tales. Which did you enjoy? Not so much?

Is "The Wing and Wing" any good?

Thanks, Don


Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:18 am
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They're in my "to read" pile. The volumes I have contain some lovely engravings in them as well.

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Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:05 am
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Post Re: James Fenimore Cooper
I've been reading Afloat and Ashore, one of Cooper's later works. I set aside for a while after being disappointed by some of the improbable coincidences that Cooper throws in. It's something I believe Cooper has already been criticized for and even POB is not immune from. The local color, however, and the seamanship are interesting.
It's the story of Miles Wallingford, son of a gentleman sailor, who sails aboard letter-of-marque ships at the very end of the eighteenth century. This is during the Quasi-War with the French and much of the action is against French privateers and letters-of-marque, though it does include activity such as illicit trade with the still Spanish colonies in South America and adventures with the natives of the Pacific northwest. The volume I purchased also has a sequel called Miles Wallingford in it.
One thing that has puzzled me. In an early chapter Cooper describes a ship as having 'hoop-pole bulwarks'. I know what a bulwark is but have never heard of the other term. Any ideas?
Thanks,
PT


Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:52 pm
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Post Re: James Fenimore Cooper
PT wrote:
I've been reading Afloat and Ashore, one of Cooper's later works. One thing that has puzzled me. In an early chapter Cooper describes a ship as having 'hoop-pole bulwarks'. I know what a bulwark is but have never heard of the other term.


"Hoop-Pole" is new to me too. Thanks PT for the other information. I found an interesting resource for his books. Click on the following link: The James Fenimore Cooper Society.

Don


Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:26 pm
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Post Re: James Fenimore Cooper
PT wrote:
In an early chapter Cooper describes a ship as having 'hoop-pole bulwarks'. I know what a bulwark is but have never heard of the other term.

I was wondering if it's a typo or some corruption of phrase. I had a look in Smyth's Word Book. No "hoop-pole" but there is "loop-hole." One definition he gives is the more familiar one of the openings in castle walls. The other:

"Also, certain aperatures formed in the bulk-heads, hatches, and other parts of a merchant-ship, through which small arms might be fired on an enemy who boarded her, and for close fight. They were formerly called meurtrières, and were introduced in British slave vessels."

Does that sound like what Cooper is talking about?

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Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:39 pm
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The full quote is:
Quote:
She was a tight little ship of about four hundred tons, had hoop-pole bulwarks, as I afterward learned, with nettings for hammocks and old junk...

This is the only reference I've found in the book.
I've used the Cooper Society site before as well as some of the Gutenberg texts. I suppose I should download the plain text version and run a search for the term.
Previously, my main interest has been in Cooper's non-fiction works: Ned Myers, and The History of the Navy of the United States of America.
His Lives of Distinguished American Naval Officers has not been reprinted to my knowledge though I've read an excerpt. At least two of the officers he writes about were his personal friends.
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PT


Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:18 pm
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I've just started on The Wing-and-Wing. It's a bit of a puzzle so far, but I suppose all will be revealed later.

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Tue Jan 17, 2006 12:17 am
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susan wrote:
I've just started on The Wing-and-Wing.

I hope you think it is good enough to recommend, I have been thinking about tracking down a copy. If I wasn't so far behind, I probably would have done that already.

Does the "wing and wing" title refer to a fore-and-aft ship spreading sails to both sides when going downwind? Or does it have a different meaning in the context of the book?

Don


Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:38 am
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I'm only on Chapter 3, so I've quite a way to go yet. The story starts off on Elba, which is interesting.

Yes, the "wing-and-wing" refers to the set of the sails.

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Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:19 pm
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