CHAPTER 19 El Filibusterismo Published in Ghent (1891)
Days flew fast like fleeting arrows in Brussels. Rizal, unmindful of Suzanne Jacoby’s enticing affection, was busy correcting and polishing his second novel – El Filibusterismo.
October, 1887 – He begun writing it in Calamba.
1888 – He made some changes in the plot and revised the chapter already written.
-- He wrote more chapters in Paris, Madrid and Biarritz.
March 29, 1891 – He finished the manuscript in Biarritz, after toiling on it for three years.
From Brussels, Rizal moved to Ghent, where printing was cheaper .
September 18, 1891 – El Filibusterismo, the sequel to the Noli, came of the press.
Privations in Ghent
July 5, 1891 – Rizal left Brussels for Ghent.
The cost of living was lower
The price of printing was much cheaper than in Brussels
To escape from the enticing attraction of Petite Suzanne
Owing to his limited funds, Rizal lived in a cheap boarding house, with Jose Alejandro as room mate.
They lived frugally in Ghent for three months – from July to September, 1891.
To economize further on their living expenses, they prepared their own breakfast.
The Printing of “El Filibusterismo”
Rizal searched for a printing shop that could give him the lowest quotation for the publication of his novel.
At last, he did find a publisher – F. MEYER-VAN LOO PRESS, No. 66 Viaanderen Street – who was willing to print his book on installment basis.
He pawned his jewels in order to pay the down payment and early partial payments during the printing of the novel.
Rizal became desperate because his funds were running low.
He received some money from Basa and P200 from Rodriguez Arias for the copies of Morga’s Sucesos sold in Manila but these funds were also used up.
July 1891 – Rizal wrote a letter to Basa saying that if no money comes he have to stop the El Fili’s publication.
August 6 – The printing had to be suspended, as Rizal feared, because he could no longer give the necessary funds to the printer.
“ El Filibusterismo” Comes Off the Press
In his morbid moments of despair, Rizal almost burned the manuscript of El Filibusterismo.
When everything seemed lost, help came from an unexpected source. Valentin Ventura heard of Rizal’s predicament and immediately sent the amount needed to finish the publication of the novel.
September 18, 1891 – El Fili came off to press.
Rizal immediately send 2 copies to Hongkong – one for Basa and the other for Sixto Lopez
He gratefully gave the original manuscript of El Fili and a printed copy with his autograph to Valentin Ventura.
Filipino patriots praised the novel. The members of the Filipino colony of Barcelona published a tribute in La Publicidad , a Barcelona newspaper, eulogizing the novel’s original style.
The liberal Madrid newspaper, El Nuevo Regimen , serialized the novel in its issues of October, 1891.
All copies of the first edition (Ghent edition) of El Fili were placed in wooden boxes and shipped to Hong Kong, but almost all the boxes were confiscated and the books were lost.
The book immediately became rare and the few available Ghent copies were sold at very high prices, reaching as high as 400 pesetas per copy.
Rizal, in all his studies, travels and labors in foreign lands, had not forgotten the martyrdom of Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora, which Paciano related to him when he was a mere lad in Calamba. He dedicated El Fili to them.
The Manuscript and the Book
- The original manuscript of El Fili in Rizal’s own handwriting is now preserved in the Filipiniana Division of the Bureau of Public Libraries, Manila.
- Acquired from Valentin Ventura for P10,000.
- Consisting of 279 pages of long sheets of paper.
2 features that didn’t appear in the printed book
These two were not put into print, evidently, to save printing cost.
- FOREWORD – appears just before the dedicatory page in the manuscript. It is for the Filipino People and the Government.
- WARNING – found on the other side of the dedication.
The title page of El Fili contains an inscription written by Ferdinand Blumentritt.