Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: El Filibusterismo by Jose Rizal

El Filibusterismo

Author: Jose Rizal
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Penguin Classics; 1 edition (May 31, 2011) 

★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

El Filibusterismo (The Subversive) is the sequel to Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) written by Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines. Rizal dedicated this book to the three martyr priests Don Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, Don Jacinto Zamora who were executed by Spaniards on charges of subversion in 1872. 

I first read this book (along with the first one Noli Me Tangere) as a requirement in my high school classes, of course the stories were written in Filipino. Fourteen years later, I was given another chance to read El Filibusterismo in English version (originally written in Spanish), provided by it's publisher, Penguin Classics. I realized it was a boring story then maybe because it was taught in school, never read it with much enthusiasm but now I found it an interesting story of revenge. I can only imagine Rizal's situation when this book circulated in the Philippines. I am not an expert of Rizal's work and the Philippines history but I think this was one of the many reasons why he was executed by the Spaniards. I enjoyed reading this book so much and would like to recommend this to readers of classic books. 

About the book:

El Filibusterismo (The Subversive) is the second novel by Jose Rizal (1861-1896), national hero of the Philippines. Like its predecessor, the better-known Noli Me Tangere, the Fili was  written in Castillian while Rizal was traveling and studying in Europe. It was published in Ghent in 1891 and later translated into English, German, French, Japanese, Tagalog, Ilonggo, and other languages. A nationalist novel by an author who has been called "the first Filipino", its nature and a social document of the late-nineteenth-century Philippines is often emphasized. For many years copies of Fili were smuggled into the Philippines after it was condemned subversive by the Spanish authorities.

Characters from the Noli (Basilio, Dona Victorina, Padre Salvi) return while new ones are introduced: Simoun, the transformed Ibarra, Cabesang Tales and his struggle for justice; the nationalist student Isagabi; Indio priest Padre Florentino. Through them the colonial milieu is expanded-its official-dom, education, legal system, power plays, social patterns and see a new as context for conflict and insight. Translator Soledad Lacson-Locsin is the first to have worked from facsimile editions of the original manuscripts. The result is the most authoritative and faithful English translation to date, one which attempts to preserve in English the cadence and color of the original.

About the author:

Jose Rizal was one of the leading champions of Filipino nationalism and independence. His masterpiece, Noli Me Tangere is widely considered to be the foundational novel of the Philippines. 


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Rockee said...

Omg. The Great Jose Rizal. I thought I was hallucinating or something. Hehe. I've never read El Filibusterismo or Noli Me Tangere, but I will definitely check it out one of these days. I've only seen the movie that talked about his life or something; but I hardly remember it 'cuz it was a long time ago. Glad to know a fellow pinoy blogger. Have a nice weekend!:)

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