Telling and Being Told: Storytelling and Cultural Control in by Paul M. Worley

By Paul M. Worley

via functionality and the spoken observe, Yucatec Maya storytellers have maintained the power in their literary traditions for greater than years. Telling and Being Told offers the determine of the storyteller as an emblem of indigenous cultural regulate in modern Yucatec Maya literatures. reading the storyteller because the embodiment of indigenous wisdom in written and oral texts, this e-book highlights how Yucatec Maya literatures play an important position in imaginings of Maya tradition and its relationships with Mexican and international cultures.
via functionality, storytellers position the previous in dynamic courting with the current, every one consistently evolving because it is reevaluated and reinterpreted. but non-indigenous actors frequently control the storyteller of their firsthand money owed of the indigenous international. furthermore, via proscribing the sphere of literary examine to written texts, Worley argues, critics usually forget about a big portion of Latin America’s historical past of conquest and colonization: the truth that Europeans consciously got down to wreck indigenous writing structures, making orality a key technique of indigenous resistance and cultural continuity.
Given those old components, outsiders needs to method Yucatec Maya and different indigenous literatures on their lonesome phrases instead of utilizing Western versions. even though oral literature has been excluded from many literary reports, Worley persuasively demonstrates that it has to be incorporated in modern analyses of indigenous literatures as oral texts shape a key component to modern indigenous literatures, and storytellers and storytelling stay vivid cultural forces in either Yucatec groups and modern Yucatec writing.

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Additional info for Telling and Being Told: Storytelling and Cultural Control in Contemporary Yucatec Maya Literatures

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2 The Indians, simply by virtue of being Indians, are incapable of knowing in the ways that both reader and narrator know. ” Moreover, Stephens’s use of the verb “call” suggests the structure’s real name and history are lost to the Indians themselves. The authoritative voice of the author-narrator 30 Writing THE Word • 31 reasserts the truth-value of the narrative that follows by stating that this story, in all its superstition, in all its otherness, was told to him from the very lips of an Indian as they were among those very ruins.

In exploring this dynamic I will focus on the relationship between three figures that make an appearance in such texts: the cultural broker, the author-narrator, and the storyteller. The people traditionally charged with the interpretation, ordering, translation, and publication of these texts are cultural brokers, people who mediate between subaltern cultures and hegemonic cultures. Cultural brokers in the Americas are not exclusively indigenous or nonindigenous, but rather individuals whose attributes enable them to represent indigenous cultures within nonindigenous contexts.

In a Latin American context, Rama’s theorization of the “lettered city” takes for granted the fact that access to that “city” is predicated, even before one’s mastery of learned Spanish and its genres, on a more generalized mastery of the Spanish language itself. Spanish is the limit of the national self. Indigenous languages—whether written or oral—tend to remain excluded from spheres of power, with indigenous peoples having little power to express themselves unless that expression occurs in Spanish.

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