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The Bravo. A Venetian Story
by James Fenimore Cooper
The Writings of James Fenimore Cooper
Lance E. Schachterle, Editor-in-Chief
Historical Introduction by Kay Seymour House
Edited by Lance Schachterle and James A. Sappenfield
Explanatory Notes by Anna Scannavini
AMS Studies in the Nineteenth Century, No. 49
“Since, as the editors point out, more textual and manuscript evidence survives of The Bravo than most of Cooper’s other novels, it allows them to reveal, in painstaking detail, the depth of the author’s concern with revision and the evolution of the work. The edition aims to provide students and scholars with the tools to arrive at a more nuanced understanding of Cooper’s working practices and ambitions at mid-career. . . . [T]he attention to detail in this AMS Press edition is . . . welcome news for American literary scholarship.”
—Tom F. Wright, Times Literary Supplement
“Cooper enthusiasts will find much to applaud in the two most recent [Cooper Edition titles], The Bravo and The Autobiography of a Pocket Handkerchief. . . . The texts of both of these volumes display the quality paper and clear typography common to other titles from AMS, making these books a pleasure to read. . . . [I]t is in the details that many of the true merits of scholarly editions emerge, and . . . these two new Cooper Edition titles will provide a wealth of historical, biographical, and textual resources—as well as plenty of good reading from Cooper’s own writing.”
—Steven Harthorn, James Fenimore Cooper Society Newsletter
Begun in 1830, amid the turmoil of the July Revolution in Paris, The Bravo depicts an early eighteenth-century Venice rife with deceit and cruelty, a place where
oligarchic senators pretend to govern a republic for the benefit of the masses while using their secret councils to preserve their wealth. For Cooper, the heart of
Venetian corruption was its “soulless corporation”: councils of senators whose anonymity removed them from personal moral responsibility and whose regular turnover
within their class guaranteed the immortality of their state. With French oligarchs quickly usurping their country’s liberal revolution, Cooper framed his narrative
of the “soulless corporation” to apply equally to contemporary France, aristocratic England, and money-mad America.
This meticulously edited edition, which has received the seal of the Committee on Scholarly Editions of the MLA, is based on the first London edition, the only one
Cooper proofread. Incorporating all the changes Cooper made for the revised text of 1834, the AMS edition also includes superior variants from the rough-draft manuscript
that were lost during the transmission of the text.
An extensive historical introduction, as well as detailed explanatory notes and valuable contemporary illustrations of Venice, give readers a sense of the context necessary
to fully appreciate Coooper’s first and best political novel.
The Manuscript and Its Transcription
A Note on the Amanuensis Copy
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789–1851.
The bravo : a Venetian story / James Fenimore Cooper ; edited by Lance
Schachterle and James A. Sappenfield ; historical introduction by Kay
Seymour House ; explanatory notes by Anna Scannavini.
p. cm. — (AMS studies in the nineteenth century, ISSN 0196-657X ;
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-0-404-64479-6 (cloth : alk. paper)
1. Venice (Italy)—Fiction.
I. Schachterle, Lance.
II. Sappenfield, James A., 1940–