Arts Previews: The Novelist Who Became the Founding Father of the Philippines ; THE TUESDAY BOOK UNDER THREE FLAGS: ANARCHISM AND THE ANTI-COLONIAL IMAGINATION

By Anderson, Benedict | The Independent (London, England), January 17, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Arts Previews: The Novelist Who Became the Founding Father of the Philippines ; THE TUESDAY BOOK UNDER THREE FLAGS: ANARCHISM AND THE ANTI-COLONIAL IMAGINATION


Anderson, Benedict, The Independent (London, England)


VERSO, pounds 14.99. ORDER (FREE P&P) ON 0870 079 8897

In Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson traced the origins of nationalism in Spanish South America. The first nationalists, he argued, spoke for communities that had yet to be built - a formulation that neatly resolves the question of priority between posing political demands and building a collective identity. Moreover, the nationalist vision grew out of shared experience: of restricted career paths, in particular. Consciousness and campaigning, vision and career: Anderson's model of history is made up of pairings such as these.

Under Three Flags is a formidably erudite and beautifully illustrated study of the life and times of Jos Rizal, the revered founding-father of the Philippines. A constitutional activist who spent much of his life in Europe, Rizal was a hero to the Filipino independence movement. This was largely due to his novels, which offer a bizarre mixture of bejewelled prose, pointed satire, sensationalist plotting and intimations of anarchist revolution.

In exile, Rizal was seen as an extremist for his insistence on Filipino autonomy' returning home, he was outflanked by the radical Katipunan movement, which nevertheless made him its figurehead. He was executed in 1896 for his part in the Katipunan insurrection, which he had disowned' soon afterwards, its leader was killed by a rival, who later served in an American-led government.

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