By Robert Bringhurst
The Haida international is a misty archipelago 100 stormy miles off the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska. For one thousand years and extra prior to the Europeans got here, an outstanding tradition flourished in those islands. The masterworks of classical Haida sculpture, now enshrined in lots of of the world's nice museums, variety from beautiful tiny amulets to superb large housepoles. Classical Haida literature is every piece as numerous and superb. It extends from tiny jewels crafted through grasp songmakers to complex mythic cycles lasting many hours.
The linguist and ethnographer John Swanton took dictation from the final nice Haida-speaking storytellers, poets and historians from the autumn of 1900 throughout the summer time of 1901. His Haida hosts and associates were raised in a unconditionally oral global the place the mythic and the private interpenetrate thoroughly. They joined forces with their customer, consciously making a nice treasury of Haida oral literature in written shape. Poet and linguist Robert Bringhurst has labored for a few years with those century-old manuscripts, that have waited in the past for the large popularity they deserve.
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Extra info for A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World
A kingfisher perched upstream. A black bear sat on the opposite bank, and he had no claws, they say. » Then, they say, the eagle did as he asked. Then and there the black bear got his claws. When the young man had been sitting there awhile, half of a person lurched by, leaning himself on a fishing spear. He had one leg and one arm, and his head was half a head. He speared the coho that were swimming there and put them into his basket. indd 42 01/12/2010 2:54:51 PM c ha p t e r o n e : Goose Food The man unrolled his coho skin and put it on and swam in that direction.
She therefore told her stories to Bogoraz in the Russian language. And some of Bogoraz’s research in Siberia was funded, like Swanton’s work in Haida Gwaii, through the American Museum of Natural History in New York, at the instance of Franz Boas. The stories Rumyantsev had learned in Yukaghir and told to Bogoraz in Russian were, for this reason, ultimately published not in Leningrad or Moscow but in New York, in Bogoraz’s English translation. In the absence of an actual transcription, there is no hope of appraising Rumyantsev’s skill or stature as a mythteller, and no hope of studying her work and Ghandl’s together on equitable terms.
There in the summer of 1896 a Yukaghir woman told several stories to a listener willing, like Swanton, to take dictation. I do not know her Yukaghir name, but a royalist Russian missionary had given her another : Ekaterina Rumyantsev. indd 58 01/12/2010 2:54:52 PM c ha p ter t wo : Spoken Music considerable exposure to Russian colonial culture. She therefore told her stories to Bogoraz in the Russian language. And some of Bogoraz’s research in Siberia was funded, like Swanton’s work in Haida Gwaii, through the American Museum of Natural History in New York, at the instance of Franz Boas.
A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World by Robert Bringhurst