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Latin American Folktales: Stories from Hispanic and Indian Traditions (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) Paperback – September 9, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Latin American culture has had myriad influences, many of which are reflected in this sizable collection of more than 100 folktales. Here Christianity sits comfortably next to animism, God has a sister, and royalty is both European and indigenous. A section of early Colonial tales opens the book, with the remainder being stories gathered during the 20th century. Containing selections collected from 20 different countries, the book travels all over the Western Hemisphere. Indigenous cultures tapped include the Zuni, Maya, and Quechua as well as the lesser-known Kogi and Tacana. Tales are short, typically no more than a couple of pages long. Moods run from silly to serious, from delightful to scary and disturbing. A couple of short sections containing riddles are thrown in as an extra treat. As though at a tasty buffet, casual readers will gain maximum enjoyment by picking out whatever strikes their fancy. More serious readers will find the "Register of Tale Types and Selected Motifs" useful in guiding their selections. Most of the stories in this entertaining volume have never before been translated into English, making it worthy of any collection.
Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

These two works are similar in origin but different in genre. Bierhorst's features over 100 stories in a more traditional style from Mexico, Central America, the American Southwest, and South America. Many read like traditional European fairy tales, which should not be surprising since they reflect a strong Spanish Colonial influence, even though they have sprouted from the seedbed of indigenous folklore. The first part of this book contains Aztec and Inca legends but not very ancient ones; most date from the time just prior to or during the Conquest. The second part of the book features dynamic tales reflecting all short story or folktale genres: comic, anecdotal, moral, heroic, and religious. The tales are short and pithy and often pack a surprise punch line, making for extremely interesting reading. Fantasmas is a collection of stories by 19 well-known or emerging Mexican American writers whose inspirations seep from the cuento de fantasmas literally "ghost stories" but more a unique blend of folklore and faith, superstition and the supernatural. These tales and urban legends are modern, with a nod make that a bow to current pop culture's fascination with horror and the paranormal. They run the gamut from the grotesque ("Cantinflas," "Lilith's Dance") to those displaying gracia, that elusive, heart-lightening quality that divides art from craft ("Beyond Eternity," "Michelle's Miracle"). Still others, such as "The Gift," would make excellent X-Files material, although a strong moral is attached. Fascinating but disturbing, these tales may reflect the authors' need to purge themselves of personal or cultural fears. Public library patrons will enjoy the richness of the folktales and the sheer thrills transmitted by the fantasmas. And academic library patrons will have materials for cultural and ethnic studies now compiled into two convenient anthologies. Recommended for both types of libraries. Nedra C. Evers, Sacramento P.L.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library
  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (September 9, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375714391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375714399
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great collection of Latin American myths and fairy tales. The stories are simply wonderful, very skillfully related and full of humour. My only disappointment was in the too modern translation, which can really break the spell once in awhile. Other than that, a very satisfying read.
(The whole Pantheon Fairy Tale Library series is a treat, and for anyone who loves stories, I highly recommend the Norwegian Fairy Tales, probably the most wonderful piece of world folklore you'll ever encounter.)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bierhorst, a distinguished (elderly, to boot) scholar of the American Indian--both north and south of the Rio Grande--does not disappoint with this stunning addition to the Pantheon folklore series. The stories, which represent a comprehensive swath through Spanish-speaking Latin America (Brazil, Haiti, and such are conspicuously absent), exhibit the expected intermixture of Christian and autochthonous motifs, as well as a strong dose of European provenance (get out your Aarne-Thompson type catalogue!). The stories do not fall neatly into the taxonomy of etiologic/trickster/love, etc., as one sees in, e.g., the Erdoes & Ortiz collection under the Pantheon colophon: indeed, structuring the stories within a wake (!) seems quite artificial. But the material is quite entertaining for the armchair reader looking for something light and not objecting the casual uptake of an anthropologic lesson or two.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent transaction and product!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Such a wonderful resource for my classroom!
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