The Deerslayer (1841) is the last-written of Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, but the first in the development of the hero, Natty Bumppo. Here, Cooper returns Leatherstocking to his youth and to a pristine wilderness that D. H. Lawrence said was perhaps `lovelier than any place created in language'. This novel, and the contemporaneous The Pathfinder, mark Cooper's return to historical romance after more than a decade given largely to social and political commentary. Written during the period of Cooper's bitter legal battles with the Whig press, The Deerslayer reflects a retreat from his difficulties into a world of romance; but the novel also symbolically attacks Cooper's opponents and implicitly provides a critique of nineteenth-century American society. In the Introduction H. Daniel Peck offers an explanation for The Deerslayer's mysterious power over twentieth-century readers, showing how the novel's patterns of adventurous action dramatize issues of possession and loss. This edition provides the authoritative text of the novel.