Pre-Columbian Literatures of Mexico

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University of Oklahoma Press, 1986 - Literary Collections - 193 pages

This volume presents ancient Mexican myths and sacred hymns, lyric poetry, rituals, drama, and various forms of prose, accompanied by informed criticism and comment. The selections come from the Aztecs, the Mayas, the Mixtecs and Zapotecs of Oaxaca, the Tarascans of Michoacan, the Otomís of central Mexico, and others. They have come down to us from inscriptions on stone, the codices, and accounts written, after the coming of Europeans, of oral traditions.

It is Miguel León-Portilla’s intention "to bring to contemporary readers an understanding of the marvelous world of symbolism which is the very substance of these early literatures." That he has succeeded is obvious to every reader.




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Background and Sources
Myths in PreColumbian Poetry
The Sacred Hymns
Lyric Poetry
Religious Celebrations and Drama
Chronicles and History
Other Forms of Prose
Native Chronicles of the Conquest

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About the author (1986)

Director of the Inter-American Indian Institute in Mexico City, Miguel León-Portilla is a significant young Mexican scholar. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees (summa cum laude) form Loyola University at Los Angeles and the Ph.D. from the National University of Mexico. La filosofía náhuatl: estudiada en sus fuentes, the Spanish version of this book, received high praise from both Mexican and American scholars.

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