I have liked gorillas from an early age. I think I was eleven when I read Dian Fossey's Gorilla's in the Mist, shortly after finishing Jane Goodall's In the Shadow of Man; both works made me want to pursue ethology or primatology for many years afterward. My fascination with gorillas went further back -- past the Donkey Kong game which I was pretty good at (if hardly King of Kong material) at least back to toddlerdom, when I carried around a wallet which contained, if memory serves, a picture of a glow-in-the-dark Aurora model of King Kong.
GORILLAS IN THE WEST
Gorillas are the largest primates on earth. Their strength is estimated to be between six and fifteen times that of a human and they have rather large and intimidating canines. A silverback could, rest assured, easily best any human in hand-to-hand combat. Gorillas, however, are not at all blood thirsty. The occasional snack of ants is all that keeps them from being classifiable as vegans and they generally (and understandably) avoid encounters with humans. Reality, in this case, has traditionally had little bearing on the European imagination, though, and Western artists have frequently endowed the peaceful creatures with their own human feelings composed -- as Charles Baudelaire said -- partly of terror and partly of priapic curiosity.
MENAGERIES AND FANTASIES