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2000 Years of Mayan Literatureby Dennis Tedlock
"Dennis Tedlock writes, to understand this writing as art. 'Much decipherment has taken place but very little in the way of translation,' he explains in he introduction to his definitive compendium, 2000 Years of Mayan Literature.... Richly illustrated, the book insists that we must 'take a further step and proclaim that literature existed in the Americas before Europeans got here.'" Benjamin Moser, Harper's Magazine (Read the entire Harper's review)
Synopses & Reviews
Mayan literature is among the oldest in the world, spanning an astonishing two millennia from deep pre-Columbian antiquity to the present day. Here, for the first time, is a fully illustrated survey, from the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions to the works of later writers using the Roman alphabet. Dennis Tedlock — ethnographer, linguist, poet, and award-winning author — draws on decades of living and working among the Maya to assemble this groundbreaking book, which is the first to treat ancient Mayan texts as literature.
Tedlock considers the texts chronologically. He establishes that women were among the ancient writers and challenges the idea that Mayan rulers claimed the status of gods. 2000 Years of Mayan Literature expands our understanding and appreciation not only of Mayan literature but of indigenous American literature in its entirety.
"If you're drawn to global cultures, languages and mythology, this is a cool book to explore." Read the Spirit
"A hefty scholarly work that reads like serialized magazine articles . . . quite accessible to the general reader." Albuquerque Journal
"Imaginatively written, superbly illustrated, beautifully produced and, above all, highly authoritative. . . . For those seriously interested in Mayan writing, the book is a must-buy." Current World Archaeology
2000 Years of Mayan Literature expands our understanding and appreciation not only of Mayan literature but of indigenous American literature in its entirety.
In this innovative study, Positive Pollutions and Cultural Toxins, John Blair Gamber examines urbanity and the results of urban living—traffic, garbage, sewage, waste, and pollution—arguing for a new recognition of all forms of human detritus as part of the natural world and thus for a broadening of our understanding of environmental literature.
While much of the discourse surrounding the United States idealistic and nostalgic views of itself privileges “clean” living (primarily in rural, small-town, and suburban settings), representations of rurality and urbanity by Chicanas/Chicanos, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, on the other hand, complicate such generalization. Gamber widens our understanding of current ecocritical debates by examining texts by such authors as Octavia Butler, Louise Erdrich, Alejandro Morales, Gerald Vizenor, and Karen Tei Yamashita that draw on the physical signs of human corporeality to refigure cities and urbanity as natural. He demonstrates how ethnic American literature reclaims waste objects and waste spaces—likening pollution to miscegenation—as a method to revalue cast-off and marginalized individuals and communities. Positive Pollutions and Cultural Toxins explores the conjunction of, and the frictions between, twentieth-century U.S. postcolonial studies, race studies, urban studies, and ecocriticism, and works to refigure this portrayal of urban spaces.
The story of the Blind Man and the Loon is a living Native folktale about a blind man who is betrayed by his mother or wife but whose vision is magically restored by a kind loon. Variations of this tale are told by Native storytellers all across Alaska, arctic Canada, Greenland, the Northwest Coast, and even into the Great Basin and the Great Plains. As the story has traveled through cultures and ecosystems over many centuries, individual storytellers have added cultural and local ecological details to the tale, creating countless variations.
In The Blind Man and the Loon: The Story of a Tale, folklorist Craig Mishler goes back to 1827, tracing the storyand#8217;s emergence across Greenland and North America in manuscripts, books, and in the visual arts and other media such as film, music, and dance theater. Examining and comparing the storyand#8217;s variants and permutations across cultures in detail, Mishler brings the individual storyteller into his analysis of how the tale changed over time, considering how storytellers and the oral tradition function within various societies. Two maps unequivocally demonstrate the routes the story has traveled. The result is a masterful compilation and analysis of Native oral traditions that sheds light on how folktales spread and are adapted by widely diverse cultures.
About the Author
Dennis Tedlock is Distinguished Professor and Endowed McNulty Chair of English and Research Professor of Anthropology at the University at Buffalo of the State University of New York. He won the PEN Translation Prize for Popol Vuh: The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the Glories of Gods and Kings. For his other books he has received awards from the American Folklore Society, the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, the Society for Humanistic Anthropology, and the Association of American Publishers.
Table of Contents
Note on the Pronunciation of Mayan Words
1. Learning to Read
2. Early Mayan Writing
3. The Skilled Observer from Maxam
4. From the Time of Gods to the Time of Lords
5. Cormorant and Her Three Sons
6. Temple of the Sun- Eyed Shield
7. Temple of the Tree of Yellow Corn
8. Lady Shark Fin and the Eve ning Star
9. The Rattlesnakes of the City of Three Stones
10. Drawing and Designing with Words
12. The Question of the Beginning and End of Time
13. The Mouth of the Well of the Itza
14. Writing on the Pages of Books
15. Signs of the Times
16. Moon Woman Meets the Stars
17. The Power of the Great Star
19. Diagrams of the Days
20. The Alphabet Arrives in the Lowlands
21. The Books of Chilam Balam
22. Understanding the Language of Suyua
23. Song of the Birth of the Twenty Days
24. Conversations with Madness
25. The Alphabet Arrives in the Highlands
26. A Way to See the Dawn of Life
27. Blood Moon Becomes a Trickster
28. The Death of Death
29. The Human Work, the Human Design
30. We Saw It All, Oh My Sons
31. The Count of Days
32. Man of Rabinal
List of Mayan Texts and Translations
List of Figures
List of Maps
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