Mesoamerican Culture, History, and Religion

Ballads of the Lords of New Spain & the Cantares Mexicanos

Fantastic news!  I recently picked up a copy of John Bierhorst’s English translation of the Ballads of the Lords of New Spain (better known as the codex Romances de los Señores de la Nueva España), and discovered a note in the prefatory material of great interest.  The University of Texas and Stanford University have completed an incredibly generous project, something that I’ve been hoping someone would do for years.  Enough suspense, I’ll tell you what it is now.

Complete, full-text copies of both the Romances and the Cantares online, complete with commentary and material for comparative study of the two song texts, a Nahuatl-English concordance dictionary, relevant photos and scans from various codices relating to poetry and music, and even audio of performances of some of the actual sixteenth-century drum rhythms intended for the teponaztli, or wooden slit drum, based on the only piece of sheet music preserved recording actual Aztec music.

Folks, this is a huge deal, I can’t state it strongly enough.  This is the vast majority of pre-Conquest and early Colonial Aztec poetry and song that has been preserved, in English and Nahuatl, searchable and complete, available for absolutely free, for the first time ever.  Most of this material has previously been extremely difficult to get a hold of or flat-out unavailable (no complete English edition of the Romances existed before 2009), not to mention expensive.  I own a near-mint paper copy of Bierhorst’s translation of the Cantares Mexicanos, which was produced in a limited run by Stanford University and has been out of print since 1985.  It took me almost two years of scanning numerous international book selling services online to eventually secure a copy for under $250.  You will never have to go through this difficulty and expense to study this collection of breathtakingly-beautiful poetry, as Stanford University has generously put a full copy of the Cantares Mexicanos on this same website in PDF format, that you can download for free.

Go HERE to the home page of the Ballads of the Lords of New Spain!

And go HERE to download a full PDF copy of the Cantares Mexicanos!

Also HERE for a full PDF copy of the Nahuatl-English Concordance & Dictionary volume for the Cantares Mexicanos!

Finally, go HERE for a list of post-publishing corrections to the Cantares!

In short, many thanks to the University of Texas, Stanford University, and Mr. Bierhorst for making this amazing resource available to all, it’s a move reminiscent of the great wave of public library and museum foundings in the USA in the 19th and early 20th centuries that have been such a force for learning and research.  To my readers, I highly encourage you to pick up a print copy of the Ballads in order to support more projects like these in the future, and to give back to those involved in this one.  Besides, it’s just nice to have a physical copy of a good book to curl up with.

I’ll be back to discuss these two works of Aztec poetry and song later on, but I just couldn’t wait to share these books with you now.  Happy reading!

Flower and Song, Plate 2 of the Codex Borbonicus

Flower and Song, Plate 2 of the Codex Borbonicus

*****

All links updated & more materials uploaded by U.Texas linked on 2/24/2013, courtesy of an alert reader.  Thanks M.P.!

Advertisements

2 responses

  1. M.P.

    Hi there! Thank you very much for this site. I just want to leave a heads up as to the NEW correct links of the Ballads & Cantares. The links currently shown in your post (and printed edition) are obsolete and took me some time to find the new ones. Here they are for all:

    Ballads of Lords of New Spain: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/books/utdigital/index.php

    Cantares Mexicanos: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/books/utdigital/book/pdf/cantaresMexicanos.pdf

    Concordance Dictionary of Cantatres Mexicanos: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/books/utdigital/book/pdf/dictionary.pdf

    Beware! There is a list of corrections for these: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/books/utdigital/book/index.php?page=appendixII.php

    Kind regards,

    M.P.

    February 24, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    • Hi M.P.!

      Many thanks for the updated links! I’ve updated the links in this post and in the Featured Research sidebar for the Cantares and the Romances. I’m delighted to see they’ve added the concordance volume as well, I was wondering if they would ever upload it too. I’ve expanded the post and links to include it, as well as credited you for the heads-up.

      Thanks again for your eagle-eyed help!

      -Best,
      Cehualli

      February 25, 2013 at 12:28 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s