Situating the narrative style and legacy of A Forest of Kings

Author(s): Kathryn Reese-Taylor; Julia Guernsey

Year: 2015


In this paper, we situate A Forest of Kings, which combined archaeological and art historical data, within the genre of ethnographic fiction. We consider its waxing and waning throughout time as a popular narrative form and its legacy that continues to this day. A Forest of Kings was conceived and written at a significant moment within the history of ethnographic fiction. While it is strongly grounded in the reflexive and representational practices of the late 1980s and early 90s, A Forest of Kings simultaneously presents an interesting departure. One that, we believe, was "before its time" in its effort to present archaeological data and also people the past with individual actors and agendas through "story-telling." This style of writing and its goals of imaginatively populating long abandoned archaeological sites provided a vehicle through which innovative ideas concerning performance and the built environment were presented that have been pursued and criticized by many scholars in the field since then. The goals of this paper, therefore, are both to provide a long overdue historical context for A Forest of Kings, as well as to assess its influence within the field of Maya studies.

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Cite this Record

Situating the narrative style and legacy of A Forest of Kings. Kathryn Reese-Taylor, Julia Guernsey. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396142)


Maya Mesoamerica Theory

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;