A Coyote Reader

A Coyote Reader

by William Bright
     
 

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This magical collection of stories and poems reflects the continuing popularity of Coyote as a central figure in American mythology. Through multiple roles that range from divine archetype and culture hero to glutton, thief, lecher, and outlaw Coyote ultimtely symbolizes the imagination, independence, and will to survive of the human spirit.

Anthropological

Overview

This magical collection of stories and poems reflects the continuing popularity of Coyote as a central figure in American mythology. Through multiple roles that range from divine archetype and culture hero to glutton, thief, lecher, and outlaw Coyote ultimtely symbolizes the imagination, independence, and will to survive of the human spirit.

Anthropological linguist William Bright brings together delightfully diverse portrayals of Coyote from traditional Native American tales and from modern American writing. Because the narratives from from an oral tradition, Bright discusses the various approaches to rendering them in print, from the strictly linguistic, word-by-word versions of the Bureau of Ethnology reports to the "neopoetic" versions of contemporary poets.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anthropological linguist Bright, editor of The International Encyclopedia of Linguistics, attempts in this ambitious new volume to explore the meaning and importance of the trickster figure Old Man Coyote for western Native Americans; he also inquires into the origins of the Coyote's character as a blend of human and coyote. Bright assembles an interesting collection of traditional Coyote tales as well as a good cross-section of original stories and poems by prominent contemporary Native writers such as Simon Ortiz, Wendy Rose and Peter Blue Cloud. Coyote is revealed in all his complexity as prodigious traveler, brigand, sexual predator and demiurge shaper of the world. Unfortunately, in the end, Bright fails to answer the central questions of his inquiry and makes some dubious choices in his selections as well. He muddies the picture by including several tales from non-Native authors in order to consider Coyote's continuing power in the dominant culture. Equally questionable is his decision to ``adapt'' the stories recorded by Native storytellers into poetry in keeping with his belief in ``ethnopoetic'' translation methods. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Anthropological linguist Bright has compiled an excellent introduction to the complex Native American Coyote figure, simultaneously representative of Homo sapiens , Canis latrans , and the mythical First People. Bright traces the appearance of Coyote throughout North American history as a two-legged, four-legged, and shape-shifting creature. Works by contemporary poets such as Gary Snyder, Wendy Rose, and Peter Blue Cloud are presented alongside Bright's own fresh translations of traditional Coyote tales, and the book as a whole is held together by thoughtful analysis and criticism. If you can have only one Coyote book, get this one. If you're well acquainted with the Old Man, as the Coyote is commonly called, and you have shelves of books on him, get this one anyway for its comprehensiveness and conciseness. It will stand with Paul Radin's The Trickster (Shocken, 1972. rev. ed.) as a seminal work in the field, and it's also just plain fun to read.-- Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520080614
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
04/01/1993
Pages:
226
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x (d)

Meet the Author


William Bright, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics and Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, is now Professor Adjoint in Linguistics at the University of Colorado. He recently edited the four-volume Oxford International Encyclopedia of Linguistics (1991).

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