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Lot #6083
James Fenimore Cooper Handwritten Manuscript for 'The Headsman'

Dramatic page from James Fenimore Cooper's draft of The Headsman—a novel exploration of social values in Europe and America

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Estimate: $4000+
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Dramatic page from James Fenimore Cooper's draft of The Headsman—a novel exploration of social values in Europe and America

Double-sided page from James Fenimore Cooper's handwritten manuscript for the 1833 historical novel 'The Headsman: The Abbaye des Vignerons,' 9.5 x 15.25, for the closing chapter of the work, differing slightly from the published version. In part: "Until now Marguerite had been silent, watching the countenances and drinking in with avidity the words of the different speakers. It was now her turn, for Sigismund knelt at her feet, pressing her hands to his lips in a manner to show that her high, though masculine character, had left deep traces in his recollection. Releasing herself from his convulsed grasp, for just then Sigismund felt the violence of severing those early ties which, in his case, had perhaps something of wild romance from their secret nature, she parted the curls on his ample brow, and stood gazing long at his face, as if she studied each lineament critically. 'No,' she said mournfully shaking her head, 'thou art not of us; and God dealt mercifully in taking away the innocent little creature whose place thou hast so long innocently usurped! Thou wert dear to me, Sigismund, very dear, for I thought thee under the curse of my race, but, do not hate me if I say my heart is now in the grave of—' 'Mother!' exclaimed the bridegroom reproachfully." In fine condition, with partial splitting along the central horizontal fold.

One of James Fenimore Cooper's three 'European' novels, The Headsman is set in the Swiss Alps during the French Revolution. The story follows the young American, Sigismund Steinbach, as he navigates the political upheaval and personal dilemmas surrounding his love for Adelheid de Willading. Amidst the chaos, Sigismund must confront his own heritage and allegiances while facing the looming threat of the headsman's axe. The novel explores themes of loyalty, identity, and the impact of historical events on individual lives.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Art, Literature, and Classical Music
  • Dates: #682 - Ended June 20, 2024

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