Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014)

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014)

A most unusual man of letters, born in Manhattan at the height of the "Roaring '20s" and who several times circum­nav­i­gated the globe before settling on the East End, died of leukemia yesterday at that home in Sagaponack.

I never met Peter Matthiessen, but I knew his second wife, Deborah, and his step-daughter Rue. The latter, who shared a birthday with my own daughter, was the issue of Deborah's prior marriage to my neighbor Clem Pollack who lived in my great uncle George Griffing's house on the corner of Main Street and Griffing Avenue.

Matthiessen was a remarkable person by any criterion, the only writer to win the National Book Award in both fiction and nonfiction, and a founding editor of The Paris Review... as a cover for his activities in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency, which revelation in the last decade caused no small controversy!

One of his books, "Men's Lives The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork," was, as the sub-title suggests, was about the dying off of the commercial fishermen of the Southeastern Shore.

The New York Times and Los Angeles Times have obituaries.


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