The Morphological Reading of the Mesoamerican Myth Popol Vuh

Ning CHEN

Abstract


Popol Vuh, which means “book of the counsel”, is traditionally considered a mytho-history of the “quiché” (written as “Ki’che” some times), Mayan Indians who lived in Central America (it’s territory coincides today with Guatemala). This text registers the myth about the creation of the Universe and the quiché people, and the geneology of the tribe, beginning with a narration like the biblical Genesis and ending with the conquest by the Spanish soldiers.
Popol Vuh mainly has been considered the best reflection of the pre-Hispanic native voice and studied like the history and the anthropology of the Mesoamerican tribe, always with emphasis on its native facets. Nevertheless, many common points can be found in the story of Popol Vuh and the traditional European folktale. In this paper, we try to analyze this Mesoamerican myth using the theory formulated by Vladimir Propp in Morphology of the Folktale. This morphological reading of the text conduces us to the hypothesis, that is, far away from being a native myth and Indian auto-etnography, Popol Vuh much possibly may be a “mestizo” of two cultures: not only the Indian and the European cultural mixture, but also the official religion mix with the popular tales.


Keywords


Popol Vuh; V. Propp; Morphology of the Folktale; Mesoamerican myth; Structuralism

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References


Acuña, R. (1975). Problemas de Popol Vuh. Mester, 5(2), 123-136.

Himelblau, J. (1989). The Popol Vuh of the Quiche Maya of Guatemala: Text, copist and time frame of transcription. Hispania, 12(1), 97-122.

Propp, V. (1968). Morphology of the folktale (L. Scott Trans.). Austin: University of Texas.

Quiroa, N. (2011). The Popol Vuh and the dominican extirpation in Highland of Guatemala: Prologues and Annotations of Fr. Francisco Ximénez. The Americas, 467-495.

Recinos, A. (1946). Popol Vuh. México: Fondo de cultura económica.

Woodruff, J. M. (2000). Ma(r)king Popol Vuh. Romance Notes, 97-106.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/8861

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