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“[This book] is important for the way in which it anticipates some of the main issues concerning the production of Latin American literature.”—Roberto González Echevarría, author of Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin American Narrative — N/A
“[This is a] highly accessible English translation. . . [of] the earliest work dealing exclusively with the indigenous inhabitants of the New World.”—Patricia Seed, Rice University — N/A
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Edited by the noted Hispanist José Juan Arrom, Pané’s report is the only surviving direct source of information about the myths, ceremonies, and lives of the New World inhabitants whom Columbus first encountered. The friar’s text contains many linguistic and cultural observations, including descriptions of the Taíno people’s healing rituals and their beliefs about their souls after death. Pané provides the first known description of the use of the hallucinogen cohoba, and he recounts the use of idols in ritual ceremonies. The names, functions, and attributes of native gods; the mythological origin of the aboriginal people’s attitudes toward sex and gender; and their rich stories of creation are described as well.
Fray Ramon Pané, a self-described “poor friar of the Order of Saint Jerome,” arrived in Hispaniola with Christopher Columbus in 1494 where he spent the next two years living with and recording the lives of its indigenous inhabitants.
José Juan Arrom is Professor Emeritus of Latin American Literature at Yale University and the author of numerous books, including Imaginación del Nuevo Mundo.
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