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Contrary to the gloomy predictions of the militant student-led movements of the late sixties, Philippine fiction in English has not merely survived; it appears to have thrived. - Cristina Pantoja - Hidalgo. Philippine Literature. And the American Culture. US Colonialism

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philippine literature

Contrary to the gloomy predictions of the militant student-led movements of the late sixties, Philippine fiction in English has not merely survived; it appears to have thrived.

- Cristina Pantoja - Hidalgo

Philippine Literature

And the American Culture


US Colonialism

    • Literature flourished came in three languages
    • Prose was one of the favorite compositions
      • Novel – Child of Sorrow by Zolio M. Galang (1924)
      • Short Story – “Dead Stars” by Paz Marquez (1925)
      • Essay – Life and Success by Zolio M. Galang (1921)
      • Biographies and autobiographies – “The Great Malayan” by Carlos Quirino
      • Drama – have not reached the heights attained by novel and short story
      • Anecdotes

New literary forms such as free verse [in poetry], the modern short story and the critical essay were introduced.

  • Literary modernism
    • highlighted the writer's individuality
    • cultivated consciousness of craft, sometimes at the expense of social consciousness.
art for art s s ake l art pour l art
Art for Art’s Sake (l'art pour l'art)
  • ThéophileGautier - Mademoiselle de Maupin
    • art was valuable asart
    • artistic pursuits were their own justification
    • art did not need moral justification and was even allowed to be morally subversive.
  • art needs no justification
  • it need serve no purpose
  • the beauty of arts is reason enough for pursuing them
edgar allan poe the poetic principle
Edgar Allan Poe"The Poetic Principle"
  • “We have taken it into our heads that to write a poem simply for the poem's sake [ … ] and to acknowledge such to have been our design, would be to confess ourselves radically wanting in the true poetic dignity and force:—but the simple fact is that would we but permit ourselves to look into our own souls we should immediately there discover that under the sun there neither exists nor can exist any work more thoroughly dignified, more supremely noble, than this very poem, this poem per se, this poem which is a poem and nothing more, this poem written solely for the poem's sake.”
art for art s sake in the p hilippines
Art for art’s sake in the Philippines
  • 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
  • Angela Manalang Gloria
    • a woman poet described as ahead of her time
    • used free verse
    • illicit love

The Balagtas tradition persisted until the poet Alejandro G. Abadilla advocated modernism in poetry.

    • VirgilioS. Almario
    • Pedro I. Ricarte
    • Rolando S. Tinio.
short story
Short Story
  • a work of fiction that is written in prose, often in narrative format
  • Short stories have their face in oral story-telling traditions and the prose anecdote, a swiftly sketched situation that quickly comes to its point.
  • With the rise of novel, the short story evolved as a miniature version.
  • Short stories tend to be less complex than novels.
  • Usually a short story focuses on one incident, has a single plot, a single setting, a small number of characters, and covers a short period of time.
  • core elements of dramatic structure
    • Exposition - the introduction of setting, situation and main characters
    • Complication - the event that introduces the conflict
    • Rising action or crisis - the decisive moment for the protagonist and his commitment to a course of action
    • Climax - the point of highest interest in terms of the conflict and the point with the most action
    • Resolution - the point when the conflict is resolved
short story in the philippines
Short Story in the Philippines
  • 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.
  • "Dead Stars" (1925)
    • Paz Marquez Benitez's
    • the first successful short story in English written by a Filipino
  • Arturo B. Rotor
  • Manuel E. Arguilla
dagli flash ficton
Dagli(flash ficton)
  • a style of fictional literature of extreme brevity
    • sudden fiction
    • microfiction
    • micro-story
    • postcard fiction
    • prosetry
    • short short story
dagli in the philippines
Dagli in the Philippines
  • It is a type of literature that describes people, things, or events with the use of paradox, satire and figurative expressions.
  • E. ArsenioManuel
    • Dagli started from the time of Spanish collonization(Instantaneas)
    • Written in prose but with rhythm
  • "kauntingtula at kauntingtuluyan."

At present, dagli is almost interchangeable with prose poem (tulangtuluyan),pasingaw (sketch), and proto-fictiono micro-fiction.

  • Mike L. Bigornia
  • VirgilioS. Almario
  • GeminoH. Abad
  • Roberto T. Añonuevo
  • a long narrative in literary prose
  • The genre has historical roots in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of novella.
new news short story of something new
"new" "news”"short story of something new”

The present English (and Spanish) word derives from the Italian novella

n ovel in the philippines
Novel in the Philippines
  • 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.
cristina pantoja hidalgo
cristinapantoja - hidalgo
  • The novel in the Philippines was modeled after Western prototypes, but its roots lie deep in native soil.
  • tradition of local narratives
    • oral epics, ballads, tales, and other folk materials
  • narrative types introduced by the Spaniards
    • metrical romances (corridos), saints' lives, fables, parables, and folk epics (pasyons).
  • The novel in the Philippines developed by combining elements from these different traditions
    • Floranteat Laura by Francisco Baltazar
    • NoliMe Tangere(1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891) of Jose Rizal
  • They are the work of a man steeped in both his native traditional literature and the major European literatures.

By the 1920s English was firmly established as a medium of both education and literary expression.

  • A Child of Sorrow ( 1921 ) by ZoiloGalang
    • a simplistic and melodramatic story of thwarted love
    • in essence, a Tagalog novel written in English
  • The Filipino Rebel ( 1927 ) by MaximoKalaw
    • a historical novel about the American conquest of the islands and the establishment of the new colonial regime
    • very much in the tradition of Rizal
  • Winds of April ( 1940 ) by NVM Gonzales
    • "the Filipino novel takes on a definite qualitative change, manifesting the stylistic and thematic traits that have been taken to be distinctive of the English branch of Philippine fiction" (Mojares, 345).

In the 1950s and early 1960s, the intellectual milieu of the urban, university-educated English writer in the Philippines became even more sophisticated and cosmopolitan.

  • postwar novelists
    • Nick Joaquin
      • language borrows the cadences and the exuberance of Spanish
    • N.V.M Gonzalez
      • deliberately attempts to capture the syntax and rhythms of the local languages
    • Bienvenido Santos
      • comes closest to American English
types of novel
Types of Novel
  • Magic realism
    • Events usually are bizarre and even supernatural or mythical.
    • Rationality is undermined for the purpose or examining what may be more real than the rational.
    • The Western tradition is parodied as a counter to its cultural imperialism and therefore local third world ways of thinking are presented.
    • There is alternatively a Western (once Eastern European) critique of authority and power, making events produced bizarre.
    • Alternatively other methods challenge the ordered world though distorting the plot, or the narration is made strange, or the mind has a high place alongside geographical locations, or the novel discusses fiction itself or a combination of these).

Narrative structure

    • There needs to be a scene set for action to take place within. The action has to be coherent, so that one thing leads to another. The characters carry out the action, and they need introducing, and they need to interrelate.
    • The narrative is that underlying structure which runs the story, arranging the elements, driving the reader through the book.
    • Time is dealt with, usually compressed and unevenly, and the predicament gives the plot.
    • The plot is the narrative manifested in the predicaments thrown up and resolved.
    • The narrative varies in intensity and level of dominance, usually becoming the most imposing towards the end as the story comes towards its closure.


    • This can take place from different points of view. The most neutral, most hidden approach, is the third person, with the least necessary "intrusion" to describe and present the narrative. This narrator is like God, all knowing and all seeing, but only revealing so much as necessary so that the story's life-world has its freedom and independence.
    • when some other character is the narrator, or more than one person is the narrator, the business of narration itself becomes all the more obvious and important.
    • There may even be a character who is nothing but a narrator, a strange non-participant yet placed within the story. This form of narrator is as unreliable as the other characters, and in fact presents problems if only observing and not participating like some private eye.
    • Narrators can be far from invisible, either because there is more than one, or because opinions (especially moral) are being passed. Such a narrator can even emphasize that the whole thing is fiction, raising the question whether the narrator is the only real element or itself part of the fiction.


    • this is a form of realism which stresses environment, the family line (and advantages/ disadvantages) and something of a deterministic outcome.


    • Realistic novels are like looking glasses through which the reader sees an ordinary world operate.
    • This produces a story to get lost into, because the only interest is in the characters as they work through the plot. The stories are one removed from say sociological observations, but with the freedom given to the writer to make it up, but the writer is constrained by the ordinary four dimensional universe (except with the ability to truncate time and move across space in the narration: the characters themselves have to obey normal physical laws).
    • Nevertheless, as in social anthropology, the "data" can become very full and rounded.
    • Driving the plot towards resolution often presents problems because in the ordinary world matters are never quite so successfully resolved as in many a realist novel.
    • Also the good order of a realistic novel clashes with the disorder of society.


    • This form of novel goes beyond ordinary experience and social predicaments into make-believe.
    • Something new is being searched for in an alternative world beyond familiar circumstances so that the novel's purpose is a moral or ideal issue.


    • A form of comic novel which intends, by lampooning, toss be in fact constructive in its criticism because it wants things to be better.
  • prose composition with a focused subject of discussion
  • a long, systematic discourse
  • often written from an author's personal point of view
  • The definition of an essay is vague, overlapping with those of an article and a short story.
to try or to attempt
"to try" or "to attempt"

The word essay derives from the French infinitive


  • In English essay first meant "a trial" or "an attempt", and this is still an alternative meaning.
  • Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592)
    • was the first author to describe his work as essays
    • "attempts" to put his thoughts adequately into writing

It is difficult to define the genre into which essays fall.

  • Aldous Huxley
    • Like the novel, the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything, usually on a certain topic.
    • By tradition, almost by definition, the essay is a short piece, and it is therefore impossible to give all things full play within the limits of a single essay.
    • "a collection of essays can cover almost as much ground, and cover it almost as thoroughly, as a long novel can "

Huxley's three poles:

    • Personal and the autobiographical essays
      • these use "fragments of reflective autobiography" to "look at the world through the keyhole of anecdote and description"
    • Objective and factual
      • in these essays, the authors "do not speak directly of themselves, but turn their attention outward to some literary or scientific or political theme"
    • Abstract-universal
      • these essays "make the best ... of all the three worlds in which it is possible for the essay to exist".
e ssay in the philippines
Essay in the Philippines
  • The essay in English became a potent medium from the 1920's to the present.
  • Some leading essayists were journalists
    • Carlos P. Romulo
    • Jorge Bocobo
    • PuraSantillanCastrence
  • who wrote formal to humorous to informal essays for the delectation by Filipinos.
  • The word "critical" has positive as well as negative meanings.
  • The word "critical" describes your attitude when you read the article. This attitude is best described as "detached evaluation," meaning that you weigh the coherence of the reading, the completeness of its data, and so on, before you accept or reject it.
  • A critical essay or review begins with an analysis or exposition of the reading, article-by-article, book by book.
c riticism in the p hilippines
Criticism in the Philippines
  • Among those who wrote criticism developed during the American period
    • Ignacio Manlapaz
    • LeopoldoYabes
    • I.V. Mallari.
  • "Literature and Society"
    • Salvador P. Lopez
    • won the Commonwealth Literary Award for essay in 1940
    • This essay posited that art must have substance and that Villa's adherence to "Art for Art's Sake" is decadent.
literature and society salvador p lopez
Literature and Societysalvador p. lopez
  • shows how great the influence of the problem of the society on what will be the subject matter of the artist
  • A writer and his subject matter must be a reflection on what is really happening on the society. 
  • Being an artist does not necessarily mean that you need to draw, paint or write what is good that may consider be the best. Revealing on what is really going on in our society can be considered as the most excellent because without any hesitation, one has the courage to expose the wrong doings of the people which have the supremacy in the society.
o n art for art s sake
on art for art’s sake
  • the “art-for-art’s-sake” class of writers are misusing their talents by not striking at the core issues of society.
  • Instead of producing art that identifies social injustice, these authors try to escape from the real issues.
  • points out the difference of being a writer as an artist or a writer as a propagandist

art allows individuals to use their senses to the fullest and to save the beauty of life by describing things that include nature and virtue. Thus, what is beautiful is what is perceived as good and worthy in life.

  • However, life may also consist of suffering and ugliness.
  • Writers like their texts, are part of the world. Thus, one cannot assume that individuals can separate themselves from society and that texts exist for their own sake. 
    • literature as communication - which consist of encouraging discussion and among other things, of exposing power relations in society.
    • The word has soul as well as the body - Writers who consider themselves keepers of the word may not ignore the fact that it has a physical body and possesses qualities of sound and color; fancy and imagination. But the word is more than sound and color; it is a living thing of blood and fire capable of infinite beauty and power. It is not an inanimate thing of dead consonants and vowels but a living force—the most potent instrument known to man.”
  • the adapting of a literary source to another genre or medium
  • It can also involve adapting the same literary work in the same genre or medium, just for different purposes.
a daptation in the philippines
Adaptation in the Philippines
  • The romantic tradition was fused with American pop culture or European influences
  • F. P. Boquecosa
    • Tarsan
    • AngPaladniPepe

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan

Charles Dicken'sDavid Copperfield

seditious works
Seditious Works
  • 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.

Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines

  • scurrilous or vulgar libel
    • Disturb or obstruct any lawful officer in executing the functions of his office
    • Instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes
    • Suggest or incite rebellious conspiracies or riots
    • Stir up the people against the lawful authorities or to disturb the peace of the community, the safety and order of the Government.

Aurelio Tolentino

    • “Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas,”
    • exhibited at TeatroLibertad
    • tendedto instigate others to cabal and meet together for unlawful purposes and to stir up the people against the lawful authorities and to disturb the peace of the community and the safety and order of the government

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.