Frank Waters Other literary forms

Other literary forms

(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

In addition to his long fiction, Frank Waters wrote a number of books that combine history, ethnography, mythology, and speculative essay. All of these are centered in the American Southwest, and all deal, in whole or in part, with American Indian subjects. Of these, Book of the Hopi (1963) comes closest to ethnography in the strict sense, being the actual Hopi versions of their mythology, ritual, and belief, which Waters recorded from the words of tribal spokesmen. Masked Gods: Navaho and Pueblo Ceremonialism (1950) covers analogous material in relation to the Navajo and Pueblo tribes, and contains substantial sections in which these traditional beliefs are compared to the teachings of the Far East (particularly Tibetan Buddhism) and with the findings of nuclear scientists.

Pumpkin Seed Point: Being Within the Hopi (1969) is a personal account of Waters’s three-year residence among the Hopi, while he was compiling material for Book of the Hopi. Mexico Mystique: The Coming Sixth World of Consciousness (1975) treats the history, myth, and science (particularly calendrical) of Mexico. Mountain Dialogues (1981) is more eclectic in style, a series of essays ranging in subject matter from the relation of mind and matter to the bipolar symbolism reflected in the land around Waters’s New Mexico home.

Waters’s three biographies all deal with Western subjects: Midas of the Rockies: The Story of Stratton and Cripple Creek (1937) is the biography of Winfield Scott Stratton, and To Possess the Land (1973) is the biography of Arthur Rockford Manby. The Earp Brothers of Tombstone (1960) is based on the recollections of Virgil Earp’s third and last wife, Allie Earp, and material from Waters’s own research.

In 1946, Waters published The Colorado as part of the Rivers of America series (Farrar and Rinehart), and in 1964, an art monograph, Leon Gaspard. From 1950 to 1956, he was a regular contributor to the Saturday Review with reviews of books about the West. Numerous periodicals contain his essays on ethnography, history, and literary criticism, as well as a few short stories.