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last of the mohicans

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Nefret
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Post by Nefret » Fri April 16th, 2010, 5:06 am

Liked the movie. (Mum really likes it.) Might have to add the novel to my list.
Into battle we ride with Gods by our side
We are strong and not afraid to die
We have an urge to kill and our lust for blood has to be fulfilled
WE´LL FIGHT TILL THE END! And send our enemies straight to Hell!
- "Into Battle"
{Ensiferum}

Sharz
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Post by Sharz » Fri April 16th, 2010, 2:39 pm

I read all five of the Leatherstocking tales as a teen. Last of the Mohicans was the best, though, and I read it at least twice back then. I have it on my list of classics to read this year, just to see what I think of it now. I can't say that I remember much of anything about the other four books.

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Matt Phillips
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Post by Matt Phillips » Fri April 16th, 2010, 6:51 pm

I recently read it because my WIP is in a similar setting and time period. Although I don't go out of my way to read novels from the same era and general location as my project, this is such a classic that I thought, "How could I write this without having read Last of the Mohicans at least once?". I also watched the movie.

Yes, the language and structure are very outdated, so it can take quite a bit of effort to get through. But the descriptions are exquisite, and the pacing is actually not too bad for a novel of its time. If you have a special interest in the Eastern Woodlands and the 18th century, it's worth the effort.

I also appreciated how it treated the Indian characters with respect, neither demonizing them nor putting them on a pedestle. You can understand why the heroes and villains on both sides take the actions they do (although you don't necessarily agree with their choices), even Magua. Recent works would do well to emulate this example ("Dances With Wolves," "Avatar," etc.)

The movie is also brilliant but, as others have said, quite different from the novel's plot. I later read about its use of expert re-enactors as extras and trainers in the combat scenes and rewatched some of those scenes on slow motion. It's been really helpful to me in helping me describe period tactics, particularly melee using tomahawks, knives and muskets.

@parthianbow - In the hunting scene you're referring to, my assumption is that it is intended to represent the Indian hunting technique called drive, where a group will spread out around an animal and then chase it through the woods, collectively cutting off its escape routes and closing in until it has nowhere to go and is killed. My understanding is that this was usually done with much bigger groups of hunters, though, which would seem necessary for the technique to work.

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Post by annis » Sat April 17th, 2010, 12:25 am

Posted by Eigon
I read it, and the sequel, (Leather stocking? - I remember some poor girl getting scalped but surviving) when I was in my early teens and would read absolutelyanything.
I'm with Eigon. In my early teens I plowed through this book and many other classics which I wouldn't be able to face tackling now. I was utterly voracious at that stage in my life when it came to reading :) Sometimes I look back and feel very shallow now in comparison with my younger self.

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Post by parthianbow » Sat April 17th, 2010, 10:40 am

[quote=""Matt Phillips""] @parthianbow - In the hunting scene you're referring to, my assumption is that it is intended to represent the Indian hunting technique called drive, where a group will spread out around an animal and then chase it through the woods, collectively cutting off its escape routes and closing in until it has nowhere to go and is killed. My understanding is that this was usually done with much bigger groups of hunters, though, which would seem necessary for the technique to work.[/quote]

Interesting, thanks. As you say, though, they'd need more than four men to catch a deer in a huge forest!
Also very interesting to know that the director used reenactors to make sure the techniques for fighting etc were accurate. I know that my reenactor friends at romanarmy.com wished that Roman film directors would do the same. (About to see Centurion next week :D , will report back on its excellence or not in that field.)
Ben Kane
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Spartacus - UK release 19 Jan. 2012. US release June 2012.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sat April 17th, 2010, 11:32 am

[quote=""annis""]Posted by Eigon


I'm with Eigon. In my early teens I plowed through this book and many other classics which I wouldn't be able to face tackling now. I was utterly voracious at that stage in my life when it came to reading :) Sometimes I look back and feel very shallow now in comparison with my younger self.[/quote]

Annis, Yes, I feel that way too. I read Vanity Fair when I was 12, having seen the Susan Hampshire version on TV, but I'm not sure I'd tackle it now. Everything and anything was grist to the mill back in those days. Before boyfriends, before having a house to run and the responsibilities of employment, I would often decamp to my room with a flask and some biscuits and spend the entire evening from after dinner until bed-time, emmersed in books. The best time was the day I'd visited the library and had a stack of new ones to peruse.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

G. Alvin Simons
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Mark Twain's Take On Last of Mohicans

Post by G. Alvin Simons » Fri June 18th, 2010, 12:14 am

I don't know, but once you read Mark Twain's hilarious essay Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences it's a might hard for me to take Cooper's stuff seriously. As a matter of fact, Twain offers some good advice for all novelists in this bit of writing:

There are nineteen rules governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction--some say twenty-two. In Deerslayer Cooper violated eighteen of them. These eighteen require:

1. That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the Deerslayer tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in the air.

2. They require that the episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it. But as the Deerslayer tale is not a tale, and accomplishes nothing and arrives nowhere, the episodes have no rightful place in the work, since there was nothing for them to develop.

3. They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others. But this detail has often been overlooked in the Deerslayer tale.

4. They require that the personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there. But this detail also has been overlooked in the Deerslayer tale.

5. They require that when the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say. But this requirement has been ignored from the beginning of the Deerslayer tale to the end of it.

6. They require that when the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description. But this law gets little or no attention in the Deerslayer tale, as Natty Bumppo's case will amply prove.

7. They require that when a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt- edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship's Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a negro minstrel in the end of it. But this rule is flung down and danced upon in the Deerslayer tale.

8. They require that crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader as "the craft of the woodsman, the delicate art of the forest," by either the author or the people in the tale. But this rule is persistently violated in the Deerslayer tale.

9. They require that the personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable. But these rules are not respected in the Deerslayer tale.

10. They require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the Deerslayer tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.

11. They require that the characters in a tale shall be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency. But in the Deerslayer tale this rule is vacated.

In addition to these large rules there are some little ones. These require that the author shall:

12. Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.

13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.

14. Eschew surplusage.

15. Not omit necessary details.

16. Avoid slovenliness of form.

17. Use good grammar.

18. Employ a simple and straightforward style.

All of these comes from Twain's essay & it just grows funnier as he expands on them. This essay is available on-line at:
http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/1131/

Enjoy,
G. Alvin Simons

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Post by Sharz » Fri June 18th, 2010, 4:34 am

In my early teens I plowed through this book and many other classics which I wouldn't be able to face tackling now. I was utterly voracious at that stage in my life when it came to reading Sometimes I look back and feel very shallow now in comparison with my younger self
That is SO me. I went to the local library every week (while Mom was grocery shopping) and I could check out 6 books (my mom's limit, I think, or maybe the library's, I don't know.) I'd pick two or three 19thC classics, a history or two (biography or battles--all US history at that point in my life) and something light and fun, maybe YA or other light fiction. And I read every spare second. In the car, with a flashlight under the blankets, etc. I'd usually read through them all, have a couple days left before the next trip into town, and so re-read a couple of them. So I've always been a re-reader, too. Back then, for lack of something unread.

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Post by annis » Fri June 18th, 2010, 6:08 am

I think EC has it- at a certain stage (early teens), you're full of intellectual curiosity and don't have a whole slew of other responsibilities taking up your time and energy. I'm hoping that if I ever get to retire I might return to that wonderful state!

Love the Mark Twain review- wickedly funny. I wonder how some of the touchy modern authors frequenting Amazon would react to something similar :)

chuck
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Post by chuck » Fri June 18th, 2010, 3:47 pm

Alas!....My days of reading the Classics are my way past my patience threshold....I might listen to a few on audio Cd's while driving.....These days I do a lot of re reads, of my favorites.....Probably not a classic but just finished Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" after all these years still brilliant and fresh....Don't get me wrong...they are Classics for a reason and at the minimum 100 of their choice should be a young adult as a passage of rite requirement....
Last edited by chuck on Fri June 18th, 2010, 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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