"[Hopkins's and Josserand's] work indicates great care in collection and translation of a folk literature and stands as a worthy contribution to our understanding of contemporary Maya narrative."
—Anthropology Review Database
"With rich companion chapters to the collection of eleven tales, this book certainly achieves its goal [to 'convey a more nuanced sense of the oral tradition']. . . . the structure that [Josserand] develops for Chol folktales is incredibly valuable and Hopkins’ companion chapter applying that structure to these texts speaks to its viability."
—Journal of Folklore Research
"[A]n excellent collection of contemporary stories that provide insights into Chol mythology, morality, and lifeways. It is notable in its relevance to a wide variety of readers, but could especially be a valuable resource for linguists and folklorists."
"[F]ar more than another collection of Maya tales. Drawing on decades of fieldwork in Mexico collaborating with Ausencio 'Chencho' Guzmán, Nicholas A. Hopkins and J. Kathryn Josserand’s latest publication combines the presentation of bilingual texts (in Chol and English) with highly nuanced essays and thorough introductions to the stories themselves. . . . the work should find a welcome home on the shelves of scholars and enthusiasts alike, and may even be useful in upper-level undergraduate or graduate classrooms as an accessible text that could be used to introduce students to the complexities of contemporary Maya cultures and storytelling traditions."
Chol (Mayan) Folktales deftly combines high-quality and thoughtfully edited transcriptions of oral storytelling with translation and narrative analysis, documenting and analyzing a trove of Chol folklore. The work provides a look into the folktale culture of the contemporary Maya presented with a rare and innovative theoretical framework.
The rich Chol oral narrative tradition is represented by eleven stories, each printed in the original language of the storytellers with parallel English translations and accompanied by a brief introduction that provides the relevant cultural and mythological background. Included with eight of the stories is a link to an audio clip of the tale told aloud in the Chol language. In addition, Chol (Mayan) Folktales introduces a model for the analysis of narratives that can be used to demonstrate the existence of a tradition of storytelling applicable to other Maya lore, including Classic period hieroglyphic texts.
Creating a nuanced sense of the Mayan oral tradition and revealing a highly structured literary style, this collection provides insight into contemporary Maya culture as well as a greater understanding of Classic period society. It will be of interest to students and scholars of folklore and literature and to anthropologists and linguists.