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Title: A Frenchman Abroad: The Construction of National Identity in Cooper's 'The Wing-and-Wing'
Authors: Buonomo, Leonardo
Keywords: James Fenimore Cooper’s ‘The Wing-and-Wing’Construction of National Identity
Issue Date: 1995
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Leonardo Buonomo, “A Frenchman Abroad: The Construction of National Identity in Cooper's 'The Wing-and-Wing'", in: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali, II (1995), pp. 72-78
Series/Report no.: Prospero. Rivista di Letterature Straniere, Comparatistica e Studi Culturali
II (1995)
This paper analyses the construction of National Identity in James Fenimore Cooper’s ‘The Wing-and-Wing’. The novel, published in 1842, is largely about the identification of foreignness, of typical – or supposedly typical – national traits. The main characters are repeatedly under the scrutiny of inquisitive eyes, trying to detect their origins and their customs. What is more, because of the historical moment depicted in the novel, because of the situation of hostility between nations, some of the characters are forced to hide their national identity and put on a mask. Therefore the theme of disguise, the necessity to pass for someone else, is central of Cooper’s work. For the hero, in particular, the ability to pass for an Englishman, in the first part of the novel, and later, for an Italian, is – quite literally – a matter of life and death. What Cooper does in his work can thus be seen as an attempt at defining national identity in opposition, in conflict and contrast.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1123-2684
Appears in Collections:1995 / 2 Prospero. Rivista di culture anglo-germaniche

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