COOPER, JAMES FENIMORE. 1789-1851.
Autograph Manuscript, being Chapter XXVII of Afloat and Ashore, 8 pp, folio, n.p, , with numerous revisions, with compositor's name to each leaf and printer's marks, housed in folding red moire silk chemise, and morocco backed slipcase, toning to edges of leaves.
Provenance: George Barr McCutcheon (1866-1928, bookplate); Sale Anderson Galleries, February 1919 (with 12 other chapters from the work); Prescott Collection, Sale Christie's New York, Feb 6, 1981.
One of his finest sea tales, Cooper's Afloat and Ashore is both his most autobiographical novel and the first in which he employs the first person narrative. The novel follows the travails of Miles Wallingford, who upon the death of his parents heads to sea, and finds his story intertwined with that of a runaway slave who has stowed away. The work draws heavily on Cooper's own time at sea, as well as that his boyhood shipmate Ned Myers, who he had reconnected with the previous year. The complete chapter contained here represents the denouement of the romantic thread of the story, as Miles reunites with "dear, upright, warm-hearted, truth-telling, beloved" Lucy at the theater.
The present manuscript was used for the composition of the American edition, with the printer's notes in the margins corresponding. The English edition, which preceded the American by four days, was composed from the advance sheets from the American setting. Cooper manuscripts are now excessively rare, particularly in complete chapters.