1st Edition

Writing the Land, Writing Humanity The Maya Literary Renaissance

By Charles M. Pigott Copyright 2020
    294 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    294 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Maya Literary Renaissance is a growing yet little-known literary phenomenon that can redefine our understanding of "literature" universally. By analyzing eight representative texts of this new and vibrant literary movement, the book argues that the texts present literature as a trans-species phenomenon that is not reducible only to human creativity. Based on detailed textual analysis of the literature in both Maya and Spanish as well as first-hand conversations with the writers themselves, the book develops the first conceptual map of how literature constantly emerges from wider creative patterns in nature. This process, defined as literary inhabitation, is explained by synthesizing core Maya cultural concepts with diverse philosophical, literary, anthropological and biological theories. In the context of the Yucatan Peninsula, where the texts come from, literary inhabitation is presented as an integral part of bioregional becoming, the evolution of the Peninsula as a constantly unfolding dialogue.


    Chapter One: Literary Inhabitation

    Part One: Lu’um: Writing the Land

    Chapter Two: My Land

    Chapter Three: Memories from the Heart of the Forest

    Chapter Four: They Sing

    Chapter Five: A Dog’s Lament of a Dog’s Life

    Part Two: Wíinik: Writing Humanity

    Chapter Six: Primordial Fire

    Chapter Seven: Tales of Old Mother Corn

    Chapter Eight: The Suffering of My Village and Women of Today

    Chapter Nine: Grandfather Gregorio: A Maya Sage

    Epilogue: Towards an Intercultural and Translingual Ecocriticism


    Charles M. Pigott is an Assistant Professor of Literature at UDLAP and Quondam Fellow of Hughes Hall (Cambridge). His other publications include "Maize and Semiotic Emergence in a Contemporary Maya Tale" (Tapuya), "The Last Inca: Hegemony and Abjection in an Andean Poetics of Discrimination" (Modern Languages Open) and "Ecological Ethics in Andean Songs" (Studies in American Indian Literatures).

    "An original, compelling intervention into how scholars and critics understand Indigenous Literatures, their world-building capacities, and relationships with the environment, Pigott’s book is a must read for those interested in the importance of Yucatec Maya language and literature".

    Paul M Worley, Western Carolina University


    "This book seeks to introduce non-Maya readers to a large body of literature that has gone relatively unnoticed. Pigott is uniquely positioned to carry out this work, as a skilled linguist with an impressive knowledge of both the Yucatec language and cultural context. This volume is a monumental achievement in literary analysis."

    Allen J Christenson, Brigham Young University