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Popol Vuh: The Definitive Edition of The Mayan Book of The Dawn of Life and The Glories of Gods and Kings Paperback – January 31, 1996
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Los Angeles Times The volume is required reading for everyone seriously interested in Native American literature or in Meso-American cultural history. Its publication is a major event.
William Arrowsmith, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature, Emory University Dennis Tedlock's splendid version...[is] the work of a brilliant anthropologist who is also a true "poet of performance," himself trained by a native Quiché master....Superb notes and glossary...An event of quite exceptional importance.
Vine Deloria, Jr. author of Custer Died for Your Sins Tedlock's translation is sensitive, precise, and illuminating. It will greatly help the Popol Vuh achieve its rightful place as a masterpiece of religious writing, familiar to all those who seek a message that transcends ordinary concerns.
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The fact that a fairly extensively revised edition of this book was not only possible, but necessary, in 1996, a decade after its first publication, might have discouraged the publisher from continuing to call the new version "Definitive" on the cover. The title page more precisely calls it a Revised Edition of "Popol Vuh: The Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life ... with commentary based on the ancient knowledge of the modern Quiche Maya." However, "Definitive" seems to be the marketing buzzword. But how would a third edition be described? (Dennis Tedlock has recently -- 2003 -- returned to the writings of the post-Conquest Maya aristocrats who actually produced the existing "Popol Vuh," in "Rabinal Achi: A Mayan Drama of War and Sacrifice," so it is clear that his work in the area continues.)
In fact, the work of Dennis and Barbara Tedlock with living Quiche Maya ritualists (priests / diviners / shamans), which, in the first edition, added so much to understanding this early post-Conquest text, was part of a larger expansion of Maya studies, including a more complete decipherment of ancient inscriptions, and greatly improved studies of Maya art. It is now possible to recognize events, and even characters, of the "Popol Vuh" in art centuries older, and their prototypes a millennium earlier.Read more ›
The "Popol Vuh" tells the essential myth of the ball game and the hero twins. Its story is far too involved and strange to try and explain it in this review. The story explains things about the Sun, Moon, and Venus in their play across the heavens. It prepares the living for what awaits them in Xibalba (the awful place below the earth). And there is constant gratitude for the knowledge of the creation of men from maize and the light of understanding this book brings them. The various sacred places of mountains, caves, and of ritual sacrifice are all here and powerfully expressed.
Dennis Tedlock translated the text into clear and very readable English. However, that is not sufficient for the uninitiated to understand. So, Tedlock provides us with an introductory essay to help us understand the context of these stories. At the back he also provides notes on the text arranged by page number, a glossary of terms (which we desperately need to read the book), a wonderful bibliography for further reading, and an index.
Now, a couple of things to keep in mind when you read this book (and you should). This text has one written source, and it is written in the Mayan language with a Western alphabet.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You think intrigue when you hear Mayan Codex, but it is honestly a little boring if not interesting.Published 23 days ago by kevin carpenter
Popol Vuh, the Mayan Bible. I bought this book for class and thought it was a nice choice. The book is very well translated into English, and very descriptive of life and belief... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Randy Coburn
This classic Quiche Mayan literature is the English translation of what Father Ximénez translated to Spanish. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Harrison Shawn McCarty
This book is good for a student wanting to learn about ancient Mayan culture. It’s sort of a protest, or act of resistance, by the Quiche, against Spanish Christianity. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kacie Weldy