The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English

By Rajeev S. Patke; Philip Holden | Go to book overview

5
Filipino writing to 1965

Overview

Systematic English-medium education policies under American colonialism led to an explosion of English-language writing from the 1920s through to the beginning of the Second World War. The use of English always existed in tension with the desire to create a new national language, Filipino, and debates in the 1930s frequently focused on the social utility of literature. Short fiction was the dominant form before the war, pioneered by Paz Marquez-Benitez, and reaching prominence in the hands of writers such as Arturo Rotor and Manuel Arguilla. The immediate post-war period saw the publication of more novels, and the most important Englishlanguage play in Filipino literary history: the most influential figure here was Nick Joaquin. While male writers dominated, women played significant roles. Paz Marquez-Benitez pioneered the short story in English, and the long-neglected poems of Angela Manalang Gloria are now receiving critical attention, as are the feminist stories of Estrella D. Alfon. In the period after the Second World War, Filipino literature in English attracted greater scholarly attention, and became institutionalized through being taught at universities. Despite the influence of New Criticism, however, a concern with the politics and indeed emancipatory potential of literary publication in English persisted among Filipino scholars and writers.


Educational policies and the dissemination of English

English came much later to the Philippines than to British colonies in Southeast Asia. There is a puzzling reference to the language in Apolinario Mabini’s draft of the Malolos Constitution of the Independent Philippine Republic of 1899, in which the official language of the republic is proclaimed to be Tagalog, but supplemented by a note that when ‘the English language shall be sufficiently extended throughout the Philippine archipelago, it shall be declared the official language’ (A. Gonzalez 1980: 18–19). This clause vanished from the final draft of the constitution; ironically, the American colonial regime that defeated the forces of the Republic enabled

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The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English i
  • Routledge Concise Histories of Literature Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments x
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Historical Contexts 9
  • 3 - Linguistic Contexts 28
  • 4 - Malaysian and Singaporean Writing to 1965 43
  • 5 - Filipino Writing to 1965 62
  • 6 - Narrative Fiction 1965–1990 81
  • 7 - Poetry 1965–1990 100
  • 8 - Drama 1965–1990 125
  • 9 - Expatriate, Diasporic and Minoritarian Writing 137
  • 10 - Contemporary Fiction 1990–2008 151
  • 11 - Contemporary Poetry 1990–2008 165
  • 12 - Contemporary Drama 1990–2008 190
  • 13 - From the Contemporary to the Future 203
  • Works Cited 217
  • Guide to Further Reading 236
  • Glossary of Terms 252
  • Index 257
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