Lionel Lincoln: or, The Leaguer of Boston

By James Fenimore Cooper
Introduction by Donald A. Ringe, Lucy B. Ringe
Notes by Donald A. Ringe, and Lucy B. Ringe

Subjects: Fiction
Series: The Writings of James Fenimore Cooper
Paperback : 9780873956710, 437 pages, June 1985
Hardcover : 9780873954167, 437 pages, June 1985

Table of contents


Historical Introduction
To William Jay [1825]
Preface [1825]
Preface to Lionel Lincoln [1825]v Preface [1832]
Lionel Lincoln
Explanatory Notes
Textual Commentary
Textual Notes
Rejected Readings


Written to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the beginnings of the American Revolution, Lionel Lincoln was a radically new experiment in historical fiction. To recreate its events with the utmost accuracy, Cooper visited Boston in person in 1824 to study buildings and terrain, examine battlefields, read affidavits, consult records of the weather, and compare primary sources. George Bancroft declared in 1852 that Cooper had "described the battle of Bunker Hill better than it is described in any other work."

Announced as the first in a series of "Legends of the Thirteen Republics," Lionel was the only book of the series to be written, perhaps because it contained what Cooper wished to say at the time about the Revolution. Despite some improbable elements, it retains interest and pertinence today as an interpretation of the tensions—social, political, and military— that erupted in 1775.

Published in New York in 1825, and reissued many times in this country in the original uncorrected text, Lionel Lincoln here appears for the first time in the United States in a text that incorporates Cooper's numerous revisions for the Bentley "Standard Novels" Edition of 1832.