Xurt'an : The End of the World and Other Myths, Songs, Charms, and Chants by the Northern Lacandones of Naha'-9781496222244

Xurt'an : The End of the World and Other Myths, Songs, Charms, and Chants by the Northern Lacandones of Naha'

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Xurt'an (the end of the world) showcases the rich storytelling traditions of the northern Lacandones of Naha' through a collection of traditional narratives, songs, and ritual speech. Formerly isolated in the dense, tropical rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico, the Lacandon Maya constitute one of the smallest language groups in the world. Although their language remains active and alive, their traditional culture was abandoned after the death of their religious and civic leader in 1996. Lacking the traditional contexts in which the culture was transmitted, the oral traditions are quickly being forgotten. This collection includes creation myths that describe the cycle of destruction and renewal of the world, the structure of the universe, the realms of the gods and their intercessions in the affairs of their mortals, and the journey of the souls after death. It also includes work songs of Lacandon women, whose contribution to their culture has been hitherto overlooked by scholars. Transcribed and translated by a foremost linguist of the northern Lacandon language, the literary traditions of the Lacandones are finally accessible to English readers. The result is a masterful and authoritative collection of oral literature that will both entertain and provoke while vividly testifying to the power of Lacandon Maya aesthetic expression.


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