Personal Library of "Bigfoot" Books
Research material from the library of Peter Matthiessen. More than two dozen titles related to Matthiessen's quest for his own book about Bigfoot -- a quest he never completed but that led to several of his most important books. Around 1970, Matthiessen began work on a novel involving the Seminole Indians of Florida and the Bigfoot legends that had persisted there. Soon the project morphed into a nonfiction project, but Matthiessen's research into the subject led to much more immediate issues of contemporary Indian tribes and he began working on the book that became Indian Country. That book, in turn, led to one story that was so dramatic, and so urgent, that he shelved Indian Country for the time being and wrote In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. Later, after both Crazy Horse and Indian Country had been published, he revisited the Bigfoot project. At that point he found that Bigfoot legends were related to "Big Man" legends that also exist in many disparate cultures -- Paul Bunyan being one of the North American manifestations. The Big Man legends led him directly to one "Big Man" who had an undeniable historical reality but had been buried in myths and legends over time -- Edgar J. Watson, a Florida developer, entrepreneur, sugar cane magnate, and likely murderer, who was set upon by his friends and neighbors and killed for his multitude of crimes and aggressions against all and sundry. The story became Killing Mr. Watson and, later, Shadow Country, which is widely considered his fiction masterpiece. And still, Matthiessen kept his possible Bigfoot project alive, collecting and reading books on the subject, attending conferences and meetings of fringe societies of believers and witnesses, but never succeeding in discovering the book he wanted, maybe even felt he needed, to write. Still, several of his greatest books were, in some part, byproducts of his interest in Bigfoot and his conviction that it was a story that needed telling. Books in this group span a number of years, and many have markings by Matthiessen in the text. A detailed list is available on request. [#032451] SOLD

All books are first printings of first editions or first American editions unless otherwise noted.

See more items by MATTHIESSEN, Peter