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Reading: Cooper’s Pioneer: Breaking the Chain of Representation


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Cooper’s Pioneer: Breaking the Chain of Representation


Hans Löfgren

University of Gothenburg, SE
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In Cooper’s Pioneers, the transition from ¡°national literature¡± and a realist epistemology of representation toward a Romantic imaginary and increasingly individualized politics is linked to the decline of liberal political philosophy and to the loss of landed property as the political basis of society. While the dominant narrative reconciles two families, healing the breach between colonial and post-revolutionary society, displacing Indian claims, and re-legitimizing land ownership, a tragic epilogue—the regressive departure of the pioneer toward a new frontier—opens up a Romantic sub-narrative of desire. A complementary psychosexual narrative and discourse relocates the origin, so deliberately theorized in this novel in terms of natural property rights, in oedipal problematics. It is a regressive move which, paradoxically, also constructs the post-Enlightenment subject.

How to Cite: Löfgren, H., 2009. Cooper’s Pioneer: Breaking the Chain of Representation. Nordic Journal of English Studies, 8(3), pp.1–19. DOI:
Published on 01 Sep 2009.


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