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The Mythology of Mexico and Central America - John Bierhorst

The Mythology of Mexico and Central America

Paperback Published: 1st July 2002
ISBN: 9780195146219
Number Of Pages: 266

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In a framework different from the other two Bierhorst mythology volumes, the Mexico and Central American volume provides complete translations of 20 'basic myths' of this region and shows how they have influenced the artistic, literary, and political life of modern Mesoamerica. Bierhorst introduces readers to myths from the Aztec and Maya of pre-Columbian times to the Indian groups that survive today. In a new afterword, Bierhorst discusses how in the late 1980s and 1990s, native mythology has been recast to shed light on themes placed in the foreground of public consciousness - democracy, cultural pluralism, religious freedom and environmentalism. Mythology energizes native politics from the high-profile political activisim of the Zapotec Indians against the World Trade Organization to the Nobel Prize winning Quiche Maya activist Rigoberta Menchu. Efforts to demystify the region's mythology include the criticism and investigation of the legend of Juan Diego and the ever-popular Virgin of Guadeloupe. The book includes a glossary, pronunciation guide, notes, bibliography, index, maps. and photos.

"This book should serve as a road map to the cultural wealth of Mesoamerica. John Bierhorst has provided unique stories that will delight his readers. He draws us easily through myths of creation and destruction, of the quest for corn, of wise heroes who come to us as elders and defiant little boys. By remaining faithful to the simplicity of the telling he preserves the power of images that continue to keep alive centuries of cultural heritage."--The New York Times Book Review

Prefacep. v
A Note on Pronunciationp. xv
Introductionp. 1
The Storytellers
Central Mexicop. 19
Oaxacap. 29
Southern Mesoamericap. 36
Northwest Mexicop. 47
Lower Central Americap. 54
The Basic Myths
The emergence of ancestors (Aztec)p. 67
The man of crops (Jicaque)p. 68
Why the earth eats the dead (Bribri)p. 74
Opossum steals fire (Mazatec)p. 77
Destructions and New Beginnings
The loss of the ancients (Tarahumara)p. 79
The flood myth (Mixe)p. 80
The seeds of humanity (Guaymi)p. 84
The tree and the flood (Cabecar)p. 84
The Quest for Corn
The hidden corn (Mopan)p. 86
Corn woman's marriage (Cora)p. 90
The grasshoppers and the corn (Pipil)p. 98
Sun Myths
The sun and the fire (Huichol)p. 100
How the sun was named (Yaqui)p. 101
The childhood of sun and moon (Chatino)p. 102
Sun and his brothers (Tzotzil)p. 110
The courtship of sun and moon (Kekchi)p. 112
Journeys to the Other World
Thunder's apprentice (Mam)p. 116
The dead wife (Miskito)p. 117
The buzzard husband (Tzutujil)p. 120
The visit to the animal master (Chinantec)p. 123
Building mythologies
Myths in Sequencep. 129
Gods and the Ordering of Spacep. 143
Adventures of the Herop. 158
Writing Historyp. 174
Myths and Nationalismp. 188
Afterwordp. 208
Glossary of Special Termsp. 215
Notes on Sourcesp. 217
Referencesp. 230
Indexp. 244
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195146219
ISBN-10: 0195146212
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 266
Published: 1st July 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.43