Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899–1974)
Leyendas de Guatemala
Madrid: Ediciones Oriente, 1930
Maya folklore has, unsurprisingly, been significantly impacted by Spanish influence over the past five hundred years. Christian stories, in particular, have made their way into Maya legends. And Maya folklore has in turn been incorporated into the European and mixed-race culture of Mexico and Central America.
Asturias’s Legends of Guatemala are based on stories he was told as a child. Despite the accompanying graphics, they belong to a mestizo country, some—“Leyenda de la Tatuana”—for instance, being of Spanish origin.
The Leyendas were translated from Spanish into French soon after this Madrid edition and published in 1931 at Paris, with a laudatory preface by the French writer Paul Valéry.
William A. Whitaker Fund
Rare Book Collection F1467 .A88 1930
The illustration at right derives from a bas-relief at Palenque, illustrated by Frédéric de Waldeck in Monuments anciens du Mexique: Palenqué et autres ruines de l'ancienne civilisation du Mexique (1866).