Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula

Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula

Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula

Unwritten Literature of Hawaii: The Sacred Songs of the Hula

Excerpt

Previous to the year 1906 the researches of the Bureau were restricted to the American Indians, but by act of Congress approved June 30 of that year the scope of its operations was extended to include the natives of the Hawaiian islands. Funds were not specifically provided, however, for prosecuting investigations among these people, and in the absence of an appropriation for this purpose it was considered inadvisable to restrict the systematic investigations among the Indian tribes in order that the new field might be entered. Fortunately the publication of valuable data pertaining to Hawaii is already provided for, and the present memoir by Doctor Emerson is the first of the Bureau's Hawaiian series. It is expected that this Bulletin will be followed shortly by one comprising an extended list of works relating to Hawaii, compiled by Prof. H. M. Ballou and Dr. Cyrus Thomas.

W. H. Holmes,

Chief.

NOTE TO THE NEW EDITION

Long and undeservedly out of print, this valuable book has been the object of eager search by those interested in the ancient unwritten myths and legends of Hawaii as they were expressed in the hula. This work, originally published by the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1909, remains the only book of its type that gives thorough coverage to the subject. With the upsurge of interest that has attended Hawaii's accession to statehood, demand for the book has increased substantially, for it is unique in its field and has long since proved its excellence as a means of knowing a literature which was danced, gestured, and sung but never written down. It is therefore a decided pleasure to make available once again a work that has so well deserved its reputation.

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