Book of the Fourth World: Reading the Native Americas Through Their Literature
At the time of its "discovery, " the American continent was identified as the Fourth World of our planet. Today the term has been taken up again by its "Indian" or native peoples to describe their own world - both its threatened present condition and its political history, which stretches back thousands of years before Columbus. Using indigenous sources as primary sources, Book of the Fourth World explores the landscapes and chronologies of this world as they have been seen and interpreted from the inside. Mapping the continent by this literary means, it pays particular attention to the well-documented traditions of the Nahuatl (Aztec) and Maya to the north of the isthmus, and of the Quechua-speaking Inca to the South. According to both the literary evidence and the testimony of native Americans themselves, notably at the Quito Conference of July 1990, an underlying coherence is to be found in the creation story told in the "bible of America, " the Popol vuh of the Quiche Maya. A classic of world literature, this 16th-century work sets out a story of evolution understood by Europe only hundreds of years later; its natural philosophy is now being defended, as a way of life critical to that of the planet itself, in the tropical forests of the Amazon. Taking a skeptical view of the 1992 quincentenary and respecting the testimony of the Indians themselves, this study brings together a wide range of evidence from what is now Latin and Anglo America. In doing so, it offers detailed analyses of texts ranging far back into the centuries of civilized life that antedated Columbus.
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America as the Fourth World
Language and its instances
Configurations of space
Configurations of time
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Ahau Algonkin American Anasazi Andean Aztec birds Brotherston calendar Carib Census century chapter Cherokee Chichimec Chilam Balam Chilam Balam Books Cholula Chumayel Codex Coixtlahuaca Map cosmogony creation Cuauhtinchan Cuauhtitlan culture Cuna Cuzco cycle dry paintings earth east epic example Fejervdry four Fourth World Guaman Poma hero hieroglyphic huaca Huichol human Iconic script ikala Inca Indian jaguar katun language Levi-Strauss Lienzo llama Lords lowland Maya maize Mapuche Mendoza Mesoamerica Mexico Mexquital Mide Mixtec moon mountains Nahuatl narrative native Navajo Ollantay Pachacuti Papaloapan political Popol vuh Quecholli Quechua Quetzalcoatl Quiche quincunx quipu rainforest reading Reed ritual Runa yndio screenfold scrolls shaman Signs snake Spanish story Sunstone Tahuantinsuyu Tenochtitlan teoamoxtli Tepexic Annals texts Tlaxcala Toltec tonalamatl toponyms towns tradition translation tree tribute Tula Tupac Turtle Island Twins Watunna Winter Count world ages Xibalba xiuhtlapoualli Yauri Zuni