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Breath on the Mirror: Mythic Voices and Visions of the Living Maya Paperback – September 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0826318237 ISBN-10: 0826318231

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826318231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826318237
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,381,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Traces the endurance of ancient Mayan myths in Central America.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"It hurls us, willing or not, into the deep well of Mayan thought. . . . offers not a catalogue of myths or their elements but a living interaction between narrator and listener. . . . a seamless blend of myth, history and ethnography. . . . It flows from a deep knowledge of the Mayas, ranging from their origins across their long history and down to today. . . . Breath on the Mirror is as close as you can come to the way stories are told and experienced, by the storytellers, their listeners and the ethnographers."

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is full of magical tales told by an ethnographer who is very familiar with the Maya. He is the translator of the Popol Vuh and also the Rabinal Achi. He knows what he's talking about and can write beautifully. This book is a must read for those who travel in Mexico and Guatemala.
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Breath on the Mirror is an odd work of scholarship that discusses the background and cultural setting of the Popul Vuh, which is the main ancient Maya Indian religious work. Tedlock has a strong reputation as an ethnopoet who specialized in the Indians of the American Southwest and now the Maya Indians. He is used to taking apart and examining the poetry of the American Indians and explaining its disctinctive features and what makes it tick, and he brings this ability to bear in this book by looking at the Popul Vuh and how it achieves its dramatic effect.

Mixed into this scholarship of the poetics of the Popul Vuh and an exploration of Mayan poetry in general is Tedlock's discussion of his own explorations of Mayan oral culture and written literature. There are many fascinating little discussions herein of various aspects of Mayan poetry, and other discussions which seem a bit out of place, of Tedlock's own process of exploring Mayan poetry and what it came to mean to him. While Dr. Tedlock is a spell-binding writer, I found his little notes on his own process of coming to appreciate Mayan poetry to be off-putting. I want to hear about the Maya, not Dr. Tedlock. Other readers who appreciate the good doctor's excellent works may well want to hear more about him personally and find these sections to be valuable.

Overall this is a very good book. It's full of valuable insights on Mayan poetry and the Popul Vuh and gives notes on his process of translating the Popul Vuh and what he went through to get that job done. Others of his works I have found more fun to read, but this one nonetheless sits on my shelf and isn't going to be tossed in the foreseeable future.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "bob2pat" on January 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
i feel real stupid; my critique of breath on the mirror was intended for the book "place of mirrors". please ignore the previous review by me, robert m. leas. "breath on the mirror is truly fascinating reading.
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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "bob2pat" on January 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
ms criscenzo should stick to telling of her travels in mexico and the maya civilation. i'll bet her 12 year old daughter made up the romantic encounters. besides that; the book is greatly overpriced. too bad, i seem to be the first to review it.
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