“Schelling’s biography of Jaime de Angulo―’cattle puncher, medical doctor, bohemian, buckeroo,’ among other things―presents a fascinating, full-bodied portrait of a man and an era, as well as delving deep into California’s Native history. De Angulo’s isn’t a household name, but in Schelling’s work the man called by Ezra Pound the ‘American Ovid’ comes blazing to life in all his singular brilliance.” ―Stephen Sparks, Lithub
More than an immersive tale of the picaresque life of cowboy linguist, doctor, ethnographer, and author Jaime de Angulo— the Old Coyote of Big Sur—but an exploration of the persecuted Native Californian cultures and languages that had thrived for millennia and endured into his day.
Jaime de Angulo’s linguistic and ethnographic work, his writings, as well as the legends that cloak the Old Coyote himself, vividly reflect the particulars of the Pacific coast. His poetry and prose uniquely represented the bohemian sensibility of the twenties, thirties and forties, and he was known for his reworkings of coyote tales and shamanic mysticism. So vivid was his writing that Ezra Pound called him “the American Ovid,” and William Carlos Williams claimed that de Angulo was “one of the most outstanding writers I have ever encountered.”
In each retelling, through each storyteller, stories are continually revivified, and that is precisely what Andrew Schelling has done in Tracks Along the Left Coast, weaving together the story of a life with the story of the land and the people, languages, and cultures with whom it is so closely tied.