Popol Vuh P

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Adrián Recinos
University of Oklahoma Press, 1950 - Literary Criticism - 267 pages
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This is the first complete version in English of the "Book of the People" of the Quiche Maya, the most powerful nation of the Guatemalan highlands in pre-Conquest times and a branch of the ancient Maya, whose remarkable civilization in pre-Columbian America is in many ways comparable to the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean. Generally regarded as America's oldest book, the Popol Vuh, in fact, corresponds to our Christian Bible, and it is, moreover, the most important of the five pieces of the great library treasures of the Maya that survived the Spanish Conquest.

The Popol Vuh was first transcribed in the Quiche language, ·but in Latin characters, in the middle of the sixteenth century, by some unknown but highly literate Quiche Maya Indian-probably from the oral traditions of his people. This now lost manuscript was copied at the end of the seventeenth century by Father Francisco Ximénez, then parish priest of the village of Santo Tomás Chichicastenango in the highlands of Guatemala, today the most celebrated and best-known Indian town in all of Central America.

The mythology, traditions, cosmogony, and history of the Quiché Maya, including the chronology of their kings down to 1550, are related in simple yet literary style by the Indian chronicler. And Adrian Recinos has made a valuable contribution to the understanding and enjoyment of the document through his thorough going introduction and his identification of places and people in the footnotes.


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About the author (1950)

Adri n Recinos-who made a new Spanish translation from the original Xim'nez manuscript in Quiche after he had discovered differences, omissions, and changes in the text published by Brasseur de Bourbourg in 1861?is a distinguished diplomat as well as linguist, archaeologist, and ethnologist. For sixteen years (1928- 44), minister and ambassador to the United States from his native Guatemala, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from George Washington University in 1942. Now retired, he lives in Guatemala City, where he pursues his linguistic and archaeological avocations.

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