Peter Matthiessen Essay - Peter Matthiessen Long Fiction Analysis

Peter Matthiessen Long Fiction Analysis

Peter Matthiessen is a latter-day Henry David Thoreau. There are other fine contemporary nature writers, such as Edward Hoagland and John McPhee, but no other writers bring to their observations of the natural world and humankind’s place in it the philosophical depth and poetic command of the language displayed by Matthiessen. His two finest novels, At Play in the Fields of the Lord and Far Tortuga, combine his experience as a naturalist with the felt immediacy that only a deeply persuasive work of fiction can provide.

Matthiessen’s first twenty years as a novelist can be divided into two phases, one comprising his first three novels—Race Rock, Partisans, and...

(The entire section is 5445 words.)