History and Latin America

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978-0-8263-4337-6

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978-0-8263-4338-3

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The Allure of Nezahualcoyotl: Pre-Hispanic History, Religion, and Nahua Poetics


Jongsoo Lee

Nezahualcoyotl (1402-1472), the "poet-king" of Texcoco, has been described as one of the most important pre-Hispanic figures in Nahua history. Since the conquest, European chroniclers have continually portrayed him as a symbol of Aztec civilization and culture, a wise governor and lawmaker, poet and patron of the arts, and proto-monotheist. Their chronicles have served as sources for anthropologists, historians, and literary critics who focus on these contrived images and continually reproduce the colonial propaganda on Nezahualcoyotl. This, as Jongsoo Lee argues, subsequently leads to a misrepresentation of the history, religion, literature, and politics of pre-Hispanic Mexico that are altered to support such images of Nezahualcoyotl.

Lee provides a new assessment of Nezahualcoyotl that critically examines original codices and poetry written in Nahuatl alongside Spanish chronicles in an effort to paint a more realistic portrait of the legendary Aztec figure. Urging scholars away from sources that reinforce a Judeo-Christian perspective of pre-Hispanic history, Lee offers a revision of the colonial images of Nahua history and culture that have continued over the last five hundred years.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

Jongsoo Lee is an associate professor of Spanish and teaches pre-Hispanic and colonial Latin American literature and culture in the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of North Texas.

ACCLAIM

"A detailed reexamination of Texcoco and Nahua history, poetry, and religion. . . . Lee is meticulous in his analysis."

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Choice



"This revision and reclaiming of Nezahualcoyotl is an excellent resource for academic institutions with programs in Latin American Studies and can be a valuable case study for historiography classes."

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REFORMA Newsletter



“Well written, carefully researched and readable. . . . An invaluable work for anyone interested in Mesoamerican religion and literature, Lee’s text . . . would make a wonderful addition to graduate seminars or undergraduate readers.”

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Religious Studies Review



"Jongsoo Lee has presented a meritorious work."

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The Americas



"Offers a sound revision of the scholarship on Nezahualcoyotl with significant implications for future studies of Nahua history and culture."

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Bulletin of Latin American Research




7 x 10 in. 296 pages 41 drawings, 1 halftone, 1 map