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Philippine Literature History
Philippine Literature History
Long ago before the colonization of other countries on our mother land, our forefathers already had their own literature. We have our ancient literature that shows the traditions and customs of our everyday life through telling folk stories and having old plays.
Pre-Hispanic Literature is characterized by: A. Legends These are a form of prose that the common theme of which is about the origin of a thing, place, location or name. Its aim is to entertain people especially the children B. Folk Tales These are made up of stories about life, adventure, love, horror, and humour where one can derive lessons about life. C. The Epic Age These are long narrative poems in which a series of heroic achievements or events, usually a hero, are dealt with at length. D. Folk Songs These are one of the oldest forms of Philippine literature that emerges in the pre-Hispanic period.
Other Forms of Pre-Hispanic Poetry 1. Epigrams – these have been customarily used and served as laws
or rules on good behavior by our ancestors. 2. Riddles – these are made up of one or more measured lines with
rhyme and may consist four to 12 syllables. 3. Chant - these are used in witchcraft or enchantment. 4. Maxims – these rhyme couplets having verses with 5 to 8 syllables. 5. Sayings - these are often used in teasing or to comment on a person’s actuation
Philippine literature in Spanish is a body of literature made by Filipino writers in the Spanish language. History Philippine Literature in Spanish can be divided into 5 stages of development namely: 1. Works of Spanish Religious About the Philippines (1593–1800) 2. Formative Stage (1800–1873) 3. Nationalist Stage (1873–1903) 4. The Golden Age (1903–1966) 5. Modern Works (1966–present) Spanish religious works about the Philippines (1593 - 1800)
The Spanish conquerors, governing from Mexico for the crown of Spain, establish a strict class system that imposed Roman Catholicism on the native population. In the early 17th century a Chinese Filipino printer, Tomas Pinpin, set out to write a book in Romanized phonetic script writer, His intention was to teach his fellow Tagalog-speakers the principles of learning Spanish.
Formative stage (1800 - 1873)
Among the works, the earliest recognised
work in this era is "Proclama historial
que para animar a los vasallos que e
l Señor Don Fernando VII tiene en
Filipinas a que defendian a
su Rey del furor de su falso
amigo Napoleón, primer
Emperador de fanceses,
escribe, dedicada e imprime
a su costa Don Luis Rodríguez
Varela". As the title expresses, the
work is full of prohispanic
This era also saw the publication
of works by José Vergara, one of the Philippine representative to the Spanish Cortes; and Juan Atayde (1838–1896), a military official.
Most of the works published during these years are poetry.
During his stay as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Manila, Fr. Pedro Peláez, S.J., (1812–1863) founded the "El Católico Filipino", a journal of religious nature. While serving the said post, he also taught at the University of Santo Tomas and acted as a correspondent to "La Genereción", a journal published in Madrid. In his works, Peláez worked much to the defence of his fellow Filipinos.
Nationalist stage (1873 - 1903)
A potent tool in promoting Filipino nationalism in Spanish was the foundation of La Solidaridad in 15 February 1885. With the help of this organ, Filipino national heroes like José Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcelo H. del Pilar, etc. were able to voice out their sentiments.
Pedro Paterno also tried to establish some newspaper like "La Patria", "El Libera", "Soberanía Nacional" and "Asamblea Filipina". This also became outlets where Filipino were able to publish
their works in Spanish.
José Rizal's Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo.
In 1882, Don Belong published his "La invasión de Limahong". This made him enter the world of journalism which gave him all the outlets he needed to express his nationalism. El Boletín de Cebú, was published in 1886.
The Golden Age (1903 - 1966)
Ironically, the greatest portion of Spanish literature by native Filipinos was written during the American commonwealth period, because the Spanish language was still predominant among the Filipino intellectuals. One of the country‘a major writers, Claro Mayo Recto, continued writing in Spanish until 1946. Other well- known Spanish-language writers, especially during the American period were Isidro Marfori, Cecilio Apóstol (Pentélicas, 1941), Fernando Ma. Guerrero (Crisálidas, 1914), Gaspar Aquino de Belén, Flavio Zaragoza Cano (Cantos a España and De Mactán a Tirad) and others. Both Manila, Cebu, and many other sities and towns across the Philippines had its share of writers in Spanish, most of whom flourished during the early decades of the century.
Modern works (1966 - present)
José del Mar, who won a Zóbel Prize (Premio Zóbel) for his work, Perfiles, in 1965, Francisco Zaragoza (1914-1990), author of "Castala Íntima", Guillermo Gómez Rivera, academic director of the Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española (Philippine Academy of the Spanish Language), Edmundo Farolan, director of "Revista Filipina" and recipient of the Premio Zobel in 2000 for his poetry work "Tercera Primavera" or Lourdes Castrillo Brillantes, a prominent Filipino female writer, author of "80 Años del Premio Zobel" (80 Years of the Zobel Prize), a compilation of Spanish literature written by Filipinos.
Philippine literary production during the American Period in the Philippines was spurred by two significant developments in education and culture. One is the introduction of free public instruction for all children of school age and two, the use of English as medium of instruction in all levels of education in public schools.
Free public education made knowledge and information accessible to a greater number of Filipinos. Those who availed of this education through college were able to improve their social status and joined a good number of educated masses who became part of the country’s middle class.
The use of English as medium of instruction introduced Filipinos to Anglo-American modes of thought, culture and life ways that would be embedded not only in the literature produced but also in the psyche of the country’s educated class. It was this educated class that would be the wellspring of a vibrant Philippine Literature in English.
Philippine literature in English, as a direct
result of American colonization of the country,
could not escape being imitative of American
models of writing especially during its period
But through the years, some poets
manage to used free verse poems. For exampale, the poet, and later, National Artist for Literature, Jose Garcia Villa used free verse and
espoused the dictum, "Art for art's sake" to the chagrin of other
writers more concerned with the utilitarian aspect of literature. Another maverick in poetry who used free verse and talked about illicit love in her poetry was Angela Manalang Gloria, a woman poet described as ahead of her time. Despite the threat of censorship by the new dispensation, more writers turned up "seditious works" and popular writing in the native languages bloomed through the weekly outlets like Liwayway and Bisaya.
The Balagtas tradition persisted until the poet Alejandro G. Abadilla advocated modernism in poetry. Abadilla later influenced young poets who wrote modern verses in the 1960s such as Virgilio S. Almario, Pedro I. Ricarte and Rolando S. Tinio.
While the early Filipino poets grappled with the verities of the new language, Filipinos seemed to have taken easily to the modern short story as published in the Philippines Free Press , the College Folio and Philippines Herald . Paz Marquez Benitez's "Dead Stars" published in 1925 was the first successful short story in English written by a Filipino. Later on, Arturo B. Rotor and Manuel E. Arguilla showed exceptional skills with the short story.
Alongside this development, writers in the vernaculars continued to write in the provinces. Others like Lope K. Santos, Valeriano Hernandez Peña and Patricio Mariano were writing minimal narratives similar to the early Tagalog short fiction called dali or pasingaw (sketch).
The romantic tradition was fused with American pop culture or European influences in the adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan by F. P. Boquecosa who also penned Ang Palad ni Pepe after Charles Dicken's David Copperfield even as the realist tradition was kept alive in the novels by Lope K. Santos and Faustino Aguilar, among others.
It should be noted that if there was a dearth of the Filipino novel in English, the novel in the vernaculars continued to be written and serialized in weekly magazines like Liwayway, Bisaya, Hiligaynon and Bannawag.
The essay in English became a potent medium from the 1920's to the present. Some leading essayists were journalists like Carlos P. Romulo, Jorge Bocobo, Pura Santillan Castrence, etc. who wrote formal to humorous to informal essays for the delectation by Filipinos.
Among those who wrote criticism developed during the American period were Ignacio Manlapaz, Leopoldo Yabes and I.V. Mallari. But it was Salvador P. Lopez's criticism that grabbed attention when he won the Commonwealth Literay Award for the essay in 1940 with his "Literature and Society." This essay posited that art must have substance and that Villa's adherence to "Art for Art's Sake" is decadent.
The last throes of American colonialism saw the flourishing of Philippine literature in English at the same time, with the introduction of the New Critical aesthetics, made writers pay close attention to craft and "indirectly engendered a disparaging attitude" towards vernacular writings -- a tension that would recur in the contemporary period.
The Contemporary Period is seeing a “renaissance” in publishing which some publishers have attributed to two factors: reinstitution of democratic and a strong economy. Contemporary Literature is a “see-sawing balance between cosmopolitanism and nationalism, elitism, and, democracy, art and politics.”
Contemporary literature has been influenced by various critical theories, among them New Criticism, which emphasizesthe literary work as a verbal construct, and Marxism, which produces works political in intent and content. Literature from the 1980s and 1990s saw renewed interest in regional language, the publication of anthologies of feminist and gay literature (for example, Filipina I, 1984), and programs geared toward developing writers among peasants andworkers in the hope of creating a truly national literature.
The characteristics of the poems in the contemporary times are as varied of mood of the writers. The poem in this period represents some of the styles as they reflect on treasured memories. The contemporary literary technique called stream of consciousness to make the story more realistic.
Many contemporary writes want the youth to understand the culture of their ancestors, for their culture is part of their heritage. The customs and traditions of thepast have a part in the present times.
The influence of literature in the country
is imperiled by the impact of modern technology
on life and culture, and the Filipino writer feels it
his responsibility to put literature back on track
and in the center of life, aware of the perpetual
need to upgrade
and transform it into a
meaningful social yet
artistically forward- moving activity, opening
up to a large interdependent
world, listening to the polyphony
of voices which could add to their
own largeness of spirit and
understanding, aware that they
cannot continue to write in isolation, that each
of the writings of all writers of the world is but a mere episode within that one general experience
of the universal person forever in the process of unfolding and evolving.