A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World

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Douglas & McIntyre, Jan 1, 1999 - Social Science - 527 pages
5 Reviews
The Haida world is a misty archipelago a hundred stormy miles off the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska. For more than a thousand years before the Europeans came, a great culture flourished on these islands. In 1900 and 1901 the linguist and ethnographer John Swanton took dictation from the last traditional Haida-speaking storytellers, poets, and historians. Robert Bringhurst worked for many years with these manuscripts, and here he brings them to life in the English language. A Story as Sharp as a Knife brings a lifetime of passion and a broad array of skills-humanistic, scientific, and poetic-to focus on a rich and powerful tradition that the world has long ignored.

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Review: A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World

User Review  - Kathleen O'Nan - Goodreads

This brilliant compilation of tales of Native Americans of the Northwest, including the Makah, is more academic than I expected. However, the tales, stripped of the academic appraisal, are lovely and worth reading on their own. Read full review

Review: A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World

User Review  - Michael Muller - Goodreads

Good introduction to the classical Haida literature. Excellent translations, following Bringhurst's insights and sensitivities. Read full review

About the author (1999)

Robert Bringhurst was born October 16, 1946, in the ghetto of South Central Los Angeles and raised in the mountain and desert country of Alberta, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia. He spent ten years as an undergraduate, studying physics, architecture and linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, philosophy and oriental languages at the University of Utah, and comparative literature at Indiana University, which gave him a Bachelor of Arts in 1973. He had published two books of poems before entering the writing program at the University of British Columbia, which awarded him an MFA in 1975. From 1977 to 1980 he taught writing and English literature at UBC, and after that, made his living as a typographer. He has also been poet-in-residence and writer-in-residence at several universities in North America and Europe. His book, The Elements of Typographic Style is considered a standard text in its field, and Black Canoe is one of the classics in the field of Native American art history. He received the Macmillan Prize for Poetry in 1975.

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