Peter Matthiessen  

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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli
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The Birth of Venus (detail), a 1486 painting by Sandro Botticelli

Peter Matthiessen (May 22, 1927 – April 5, 2014) was an American novelist, naturalist, wilderness writer and CIA agent. A co-founder of the literary magazine The Paris Review, he was a three-time National Book Award winner. He was also a prominent environmental activist. His nonfiction featured nature and travel, notably The Snow Leopard (1978) and American Indian issues and history, such as a detailed and controversial study of the Leonard Peltier case, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1983). His fiction was adapted for film: the early story "Travelin' Man" was made into The Young One (1960) by Luis Buñuel and the novel At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1965) into the 1991 film of the same name.

In 2008, at age 81, Matthiessen received the National Book Award for Fiction for Shadow Country, a one-volume, 890-page revision of his three novels set in frontier Florida that had been published in the 1990s. According to critic Michael Dirda, "No one writes more lyrically [than Matthiessen] about animals or describes more movingly the spiritual experience of mountaintops, savannas, and the sea."

Matthiessen was treated for acute leukemia for more than a year. His death came as he awaited publication of his final novel, In Paradise on April 8.

Works

Fiction

  • Race Rock (1954)
  • Partisans (1955)
  • Raditzer (1961)
  • At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1965)
  • Far Tortuga (1975)
  • On the River Styx and Other Stories (1989)
  • The Watson trilogy
    • Killing Mister Watson (1990)
    • Lost Man's River (1997)
    • Bone by Bone (1999)
  • Shadow Country: a new rendering of the Watson legend (2008)
  • In Paradise (2014)

Nonfiction

  • Wildlife in America (1959)
  • The Cloud Forest: A Chronicle of the South American Wilderness (1961)
  • Under the Mountain Wall: A Chronicle of Two Seasons in the Stone Age (1962)
  • "The Atlantic Coast", a chapter in The American Heritage Book of Natural Wonders (1963)
  • The Shorebirds of North America (1967)
  • Oomingmak (1967)
  • Sal Si Puedes: Cesar Chavez and the New American Revolution (1969)
  • Blue Meridian. The Search for the Great White Shark (1971).
  • The Tree Where Man Was Born (1972)
  • The Snow Leopard (1978)
  • Sand Rivers, with photographer Hugo van Lawick. Aurum Press, London 1981, ISBN 0-906053-22-6.
  • In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1983) ISBN 0-14-014456-0.
  • Indian Country (1984).
  • Nine-headed Dragon River: Zen Journals 1969–1982 (1986).
  • Men's Lives: The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork (1986).
  • African Silences (1991).
  • Baikal: Sacred Sea of Siberia (1992).
  • East of Lo Monthang: In the Land of the Mustang (1995).
  • The Peter Matthiessen Reader: Nonfiction, 1959–1961 (2000).
  • Tigers in the Snow (2000).
  • The Birds of Heaven: Travels With Cranes (2001).
  • End of the Earth: Voyage to Antarctica (2003).




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Peter Matthiessen" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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