Pablo González Casanova

Náhuatl Stories: Indigenous Tales from Mexico


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September 2012

Náhuatl Stories is the first translation into English of one of the classics of Mexican literature.

The universality of the pre-Hispanic indigenous people of central Mexico, the Nahuas, backbone of the Aztec empire, is present not only in their magnificent architecture and the vibrancy of their paintings. Náhuatl literature conveys the customs, traditions, rituals and beliefs of a culture with a very complex socio-political structure whose cosmology sees gods, human beings and nature coexist and interact on a daily basis. Today, more than 1.5 million people still speak Náhuatl, the second most widely spoken language in Mexico after Spanish.

These fourteen stories, collected and translated into Spanish by Pablo González Casanova, were first published in 1946. This edition presents the English translations facing the original Náhuatl texts, and includes the author’s introduction and the introduction to the Fourth Edition of 2001 by Miguel León-Portilla.

Pablo González Casanova
(born 1889, died 1936) was a leading Mexican philologist, linguist, writer, journalist and academic. He was a lecturer at the Universidad Nacional de México, and carried out extensive research on the Nahuatl language in Teotihuacan. He was a member of the Mexican Language Academy, and one of the founders of the Mexican Institute of Linguistic Research of the Universidad Nacional.

Miguel León-Portilla (born 1926) is a leading Mexican anthropologist and historian, and a prime authority on Nahuatl thought and literature, recognized internationally for establishing a methodology for the study of ancient indigenous codices and other texts in the Indian languages of Mexico.

Desirée Gezentsvey (born 1961, Caracas, Venezuela) is an award-winning New Zealand playwright, poet and translator, with a passion for works that reflect social issues of multi-cultural character. She has a BA in Modern Languages, an MA in Creative Writing – Scriptwriting (International Institute of Modern Letters, VUW), and an MA in Literary Translation Studies (VUW).

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