Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own; I have left some passages in
Spanish in both main text and notes to give the sense and flavor of the original.
Proper names have been modernized in both places as well as in the list of works
consulted (e.g., ‘‘José’’ for ‘‘Joseph’’). Titles and transcribed passages of old Span-
ish works are not modernized, except where ‘‘v’’ appears in place of ‘‘u’’ (e.g.,
‘‘segvir,’’ ‘‘qve’’) and vice versa (e.g., ‘‘escriuano’’). Where ‘‘v’’ follows a page
number, it signifies ‘‘verso’’; all other pagination refers to conventional pages or
recto pages.
1. See Boone and Mignolo, Writing Without Words. On the work of an interna-
tional assortment of epigraphers, archaeologists, and anthropologists, see Coe,
Breaking the Maya Code. Rather dramatic re-readings of the history of Mesoameri-
can peoples are now being written as a result (surely with much more revision to
come). Thanks to the work of Gary Urton and others, Andean quipus can now be
seen as a strikingly original form of literacy, with sophisticated record-keeping
capabilities all their own. Nor did quipus simply succumb to Spanish conquest, as
was once thought. See Salomon, The Cord Keepers; Quilter and Urton, Narrative
Threads. On ‘‘prejudice in favour of [alphabetic] literacy,’’ see Clanchy, From Mem-
ory to Written Record, 7, 11. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 109, comes at the problem of
ethnocentrism di√erently: ‘‘If writing is no longer understood in the narrow sense
of linear and phonetic notation, it should be possible to say that all societies cap-
able of producing, that is to say of obliterating, their proper names, and of bring-
ing classificatory di√erence into play, practice writing in general. No reality or
concept would therefore correspond to the expression ‘society without writing.’ ’’
2. González Echevarría, Myth and Archive, 44–45.
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