The Mythology of North America

The Mythology of North America

3.61 (36 ratings by Goodreads)
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The growing economic and political influence of Native American tribes has brought religious issues, once little noted, increasingly to the fore. Timeless in their basic structures, the continent's principal myths are now emerging as sacred histories that have contemporary significance. In this wide-ranging volume, John Bierhorst carefully delineates eleven mythological regions-from the Arctic to the Southwest and from California to the East Coast-presenting the gods, heroes, and primary myths of each area. First published in 1985, this indispensable guide has been updated to reflect the latest scholarship in Native studies. In a new Afterword, Bierhorst describes the recent impact of ancient myths in the arena of American Indian affairs and shows how Native Americans have successfully used mythology as oral evidence to reclaim land rights and to repatriate grave goods. Citing specific cases, he shows how new legislation and changing attitudes "have provided a basis for bringing myth to the negotiating table and into the courtroom." Detailed maps show tribal locations and the distribution of key stories.
Indian artworks illustrate the texts and samples of differing narrative styles add enrichment, as some of the world's purest and most powerful myths are made more accessible-and more meaningful-than ever before.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0195146220
  • 9780195146226

About John Bierhorst

John Bierhorst is the author, editor, or translator of more than thirty books on Native American lore-eight of which have been named Notable Books by the American Library Association.
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Review quote

This is a pure and rich collection of native American poetry, magical spells, and songs of diverse Indian tribes.... A satisfying experience for poetry enthusiasts. * ALA Booklist * Bierhorst has again demonstrated his enviable ability to find, select, and present concise literary examples of the essence of Indianness. * Choice * Presents a systematic view of the entire corpus of North American mythology. Since no such overarching descriptive work has appeared in nearly seventy years, Bierhorst's book is timely, adding breadth to the knowledge of Native American narrative. * American Anthropologist * A guidebook to the mythologies of the whole continent. * The New York Times Book Review *
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Rating details

36 ratings
3.61 out of 5 stars
5 28% (10)
4 25% (9)
3 33% (12)
2 8% (3)
1 6% (2)
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