Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fiction: El Filibusterismo by José Rizal

It is appropriate that, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth, one of the best loved novels by the “hero of the Philippines” be commemorated with a Penguin Classic in the form we all know and love.

José Rizal was born on June 19, 1861 and executed 35 years later on December 30, 1896, creating him as a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.

Rizal’s was an extraordinary talent. He spoke 22 languages and was a prolific writer. Though best known for the novels he wrote -- in particular Noli me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and its sequel El filibusterismo, Rizal was also an essayist, poet and correspondent and optometrist. Scholars of his life and work, however, remember him as being one of the significant forces for the Revolution: his execution providing the final straw that would ultimately lead to the end of the oppression for his country.

According to Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation, Rizal “wrote two of the most influential works of colonial or post-colonial fiction in the history of Spanish-language literature. They are openly political, snaked with melodrama and hortatory, and they helped form a pervasive legacy so imbued with chimeras that in some parts of the country he is revered as a modern-day messiah.”


Anonymous Shelley said...

22 languages? That's beyond stunning.

Monday, June 20, 2011 at 2:59:00 PM PDT  

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