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Mayan Folktales: Folklore from Lake Atitlán, Guatemala Paperback – February 1, 1999
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"The collection serves splendidly the purpose of a wide variety of readers. All levels."
The collection serves splendidly the purpose of a wide variety of readers.
A delightful collection by the eminent anthropologist and his Mayan collaborator. Written in an oral style, filled with ancient wisdom.
. . . a colorful mlange of myths . . . Sextons collection reveals an enlightening picture of native Guatemalan culture . . . It provides valuable information on diverse aspects of the culture of Lake Atitlan.
From the Inside Flap
Whether tragic or comic, fantastic or earthy, whimsical or profound, these tales capture the mystery, fragility, and power of the Mayan world.
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I had a hard time viewing any of these as a form of cultural insight. Being of Mayan and Aztec descent, I cringe at the possibility that this book may be serve as reference to either cultures' general standards and intelligence levels.
Within this book Sexton has translated and edited thirty-five Mayan folktales told to him by his friend Ignacio Bizarro Ujpan who is a Tzutuhil Mayan Indian living in a town along the shores of Lake Atitlan in the highlands of Guatemala. The tales related are witty, fun and serious and sometimes bring one up with a start. This is a delightful book to read, but along with being entertaining it is a demonstration of the value of folktales within the anthropological realm of the study of a culture.
Analytical work such as Sexton has performed within the pages of Mayan Folktales, as he presents the tales for our enjoyment, also provides a window through which his audience can look to grasp a concept of Mayan thought and culture, modern and ancient. It has been a recognized fact since the 19th century that information exists within the midst of a vast floating body of folk traditions and practices which can add to the speculation of cultural origins, personality, values and attitudes.
Sexton's Introduction is a story in itself and gives the reader the background needed to thoroughly understand and enjoy the tales, his Notes give additional needed explanations. This book is not only a delight to read, but is also demonstrates the rich source of cultural insight concerning obligations, beliefs, values and thought systems to be found in folklore about how a people rationalize political, religious, social and economic behavior.