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Parallel Worlds

Genre, Discourse, and Poetics in Contemporary, Colonial, and Classic Maya Literature

edited by Kerry M. Hull and Michael D. Carrasco

Ebook Price $74.00
30-day ebook rental price $9.99

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"[I]t is an ambitious book, and it achieves its main ambitions: to illustrate the continuities between ancient and contemporary Mayan narrative and to prove that classical Mayan writing, which often looks to the uninitiated like pictures and numbers, was a rich and nuanced poetic system, sharing some features with all world literature but developing traditions and styles unique—and uniquely suited—to its historical and cultural context."
—David Eller, Anthropology Review Database

"This excellent work is recommended for classroom use as well as for the general reader interested in Mayan culture."
Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"This excellent collection demonstrates the persistence of Mayan literary traditions across time. The papers present numerous insights to both Mayanists and linguistic anthropologists."
—Rusty Barrett, Journal of Anthropological Research


Despite recent developments in epigraphy, ethnopoetics, and the literary investigation of colonial and modern materials, few studies have compared glyphic texts and historic Maya literatures. Parallel Worlds examines Maya writing and literary traditions from the Classic period until today, revealing remarkable continuities across time.

In this volume, contributions from leading scholars in Maya literary studies examine Maya discourse from Classic period hieroglyphic inscriptions to contemporary spoken narratives, focusing on parallelism to unite the literature historically. Contributors take an ethnopoetic approach, examining literary and verbal arts from a historical perspective, acknowledging that poetic form is as important as narrative content in deciphering what these writings reveal about ancient and contemporary worldviews.

Encompassing a variety of literary motifs, including humor, folklore, incantation, mythology, and more specific forms of parallelism such as couplets, chiasms, kennings, and hyperbatons, Parallel Worlds is a rich journey through Maya culture and pre-Columbian literature that will be of interest to students and scholars of anthropology, ethnography, Latin American history, epigraphy, comparative literature, language studies, indigenous studies, and mythology.

Contributors: Lloyd B. Anderson, Karen Bassie-Sweet, Alain Breton, Allan F. Burns, Michael D. Carrasco, Allen J. Christenson, Charles Andrew Hofling, Nicholas A. Hopkins, Kerry M. Hull, J. Kathryn Josserand, Timothy W. Knowlton, Alfonso Lacadena, Robert M. Laughlin, Danny Law, Aurore Monod Becquelin, Mary H. Preuss, Luis Enrique Sam Colop, Dennis Tedlock, Gabrielle Vail


Kerry M. Hull is a professor in the College of Foreign Studies at Reitaku University, Japan.

Michael D. Carrasco is associate professor of visual cultures of the Americas and cultural heritage studies in the Department of Art History at Florida State University. His principal areas of research include the origins of writing and indigenous aesthetics, theology, and epistemologies in Mesoamerica. He is coeditor of Parallel Worlds, Interregional Interaction in Ancient Mesoamerica, and Pre-Columbian Foodways.

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  • Ebook Price: $74.00
  • 30-day ebook rental price: $9.99
  • EISBN: 978-1-60732-180-4
  • Publication Month: May
  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Pages: 448
  • Illustrations: 20 b&w photographs, 33 line drawings, 1 map
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Kerry M. Hull and Michael D. Carrasco
  • ECommerce Code: 978-1-60732-179-8
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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