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Extra info for American Romanticism: Volume 1: From Cooper to Hawthorne
Revolutionary victory calls for the perfect human being. The Red Rover is one of the most tiresome of Cooper's novels, partly because his persistent racialism is displayed with conspicuous effect and partly because the revelations surrounding the character of Wilder are more than a little laboured. Wilder signs up with the Red Rover to pilot the Royal Caroline, a vessel the Red Rover intends to attack, but it is subsequently revealed that he is one Henry Ark, an agent of the Crown. Ark-Wilder is saved from death at the hands of the pirates by the further revelation that he is in reality Paul De Lacey, and thus the son of a widow who is travelling on the same vessel.
5). At that moment the significance of the conversation is scarcely evident, since the young man is not identified for a further twenty pages as Lionel Lincoln and the revelation that this man is his father is delayed until the end of the book. Yet it serves as a thematic announcement none the less. The strangeness of the situation is that Lionel's Lincoln's relation to his father exactly reverses the relationship between England and young America. Ralph suggests that Lionel is guilty of filial impiety in 'forgetting' both America and himself.
127), while the description of the Rover himself is inevitably couched in terms of the excessive. He is twice described as an 'extraordinary man' (pp. 296, 398), and also as a 'singular being' (p. 372). Every detail of Cooper's description suggests repressed or contained energy. Although 'his body is not large it contains the spirit of a giant' (p. 402) and communicates 'his peculiar air of high and extraordinary authority' (p. 407), a sign of his ability to wield 'despotic or rather magical power' (p.