The James Fenimore Cooper Society Journal Special Issue: Celebrating the Two Hundredth Anniversary of The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground

Due Date: 12-01-2020

The James Fenimore Cooper Society Journal is the official publication of the James Fenimore Cooper Society. 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of James Fenimore Cooper’s second novel, The Spy: A Tale of the Neutral Ground. Inspired in part by an American tale related to him by close family friend John Jay, The Spy became the first novel written by an American to become a bestseller at home and abroad. We invite proposals that engage with Cooper’s literary and historical responses to the American Revolution and its impact on the development of the early republic, nation, and world. Papers that explore Cooper’s literary responses to the war or its period, as broadly constituted from a variety of perspectives, are especially welcome.

Proposals might address such scholarly topics such as

  • Cooper’s political response to figures of the Revolutionary War such as Major John André or Benedict Arnold in comparison to other authors and playwrights of his time
  • The publication history and reception of The Spy
  • The Spy and its role in the establishment of an independent American literature
  • Revolutionary patriotism in The Spy
  • Pedagogical approaches to teaching the Revolutionary War and Cooper’s historical romance
  • Characterizations of George Washington in The Spy
  • Espionage in The Spy: Cooper’s novel as a seminal text in the genre of espionage literature
  • The literary legacy of The Spy in relation to texts that responded to it

Please send proposals of 250–500 words, including the contribution’s anticipated length, to editors Steven Harthorn ( and Christopher Allan Black ( by 1 December 2020. Completed essays will be due by 1 August 2021, to be published in the Fall 2021 issue of the Cooper Society Journal. Feel free to send any queries about topic or scope. For more information, visit