A thrilling novel of seafaring adventure, romance, and Napoleonic history, from the author of The Leatherstocking Tales. In 1842, James Fenimore Cooper returned to transatlantic themes with a thrilling historical novel set in the Mediterranean Sea, weaving together a characteristically exciting narrative of naval pursuit with a story of lovers separated by religious differences. As the novel unfolds, warships under the command of the recently ennobled Lord Nelson are thwarted in their attempt to capture the French privateer Raoul Yvard and his graceful lugger Le Feu-Follet, while Yvard himself is frustrated because the Italian girl he loves, loyal to the Church, refuses to marry a French deist. Cooper also worked into his story one of his most colorful Yankee characters, Ithuel Bolt, an impressed seaman who combines courage and righteousness with bitterness and greedy self-interest.
What sets The Wing-and-Wing apart from Coopers other maritime adventures is the setting: most of the action occurs in the genial Italian waters of the Bay of Naples and Gulf of Salerno, locations Cooper had visited in 182930 and later recalled as the only region of the earth that I truly love. He combined the struggle for naval dominance just beginning between France and England with historical events occurring in the Kingdom of Naples, especially the role reluctantly played by Nelson, pressured by his lover Lady Hamilton, in the execution of the Neapolitan hero Admiral Caraccioli.
The editors provide a historical introduction identifying Coopers Italian sources as well as detailed explanatory notes to enable readers fully to appreciate the geographical and historical settings in the novel. This scholarly edition, the twenty-seventh in the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper, presents an accurate text drawing upon both the first edition and a lightly revised authorial text from 1850. The editors provide a full scholarly apparatus discussing their editorial choices, and the edition has been approved by scholarly peers in the Committee for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association.
The Writings of James Fenimore Cooper The distinguished Cooper scholar James Franklin Beard (19191989) began organizing the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper in the late 1960s, as his work on publishing the monumental Letters and Journals of James Fenimore Cooper came to fulfillment. Beards intention was to provide readers with sound scholarly editions of Coopers major works, based wherever possible on authorial manuscripts. To date, the Writings of James Fenimore Cooper has made available texts of many of Coopers best-known novels, as well as some of his most important works of political and social commentary.
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