Prevailing Philosophies and Psychosocial Dimensions of Philippine Contemporary Novels in English
Chapter I – Introduction
Philippine contemporary novels or literature in general is an offshoot of the Philippine-American War or what is coined as the Philippine War of Independence which transpired from 1899 to 1902. As early as 1863, the Spanish colonizers have introduced the public elementary school system to the Philippines. During the American colonization, U.S. soldiers have started layering down the bricks as foundation of the public school system in the Philippines when they opened the first public school in the Philippines at Corregidor Island.
On January 21, 1901, the Taft ...view middle of the document...
More so, the University of the Philippines (UP) was also founded in 1908. These myriad of developments in the English language and the public school instruction has epitomized the Philippines as the “third largest English-speaking country in the world” or categorically a rough estimate of 78.53% of the total population can comprehend and communicate effectively in English.
The initial prose and poetry scribbles of Filipinos were published in the first issues of student publications with the likes of “The Filipino Students’ Magazine in 1905 and “U.P. College Folio” in 1910. The first major English newspapers such as “The Daily Bulletin” went into mainstream circulation in 1900, “The Cablenews” in 1902, and the “Philippine Free Press” in 1905; respectively.
It was in the 1920’s that professional writing benchmark in the English language became dominant with the establishment of leading magazines and newspapers such as the “Philippines Herald” and “Philippine Education Magazine” (Philippine Magazine) in 1920 and 1924; in that order. Popular magazines and newspapers - at which some still exists today – were published such as “The Graphic”, “Woman’s Home Journal”, “Manila Tribune”, and “Woman’s Outlook”; to name some.
These major publications of that time have introduced some of the best in literary masterpieces written by famous writers like Jose Garcia Villa, Paz Marquez Benitez, Casiano Calalang, and Loreto Paras; to name a few. In 1921, “Free Press” also started compensating published literary works which were marked as “cash incentives”. Also, a sum of P1, 000 was also given to contributors who had the top stories submitted for publication.
In 1925 and 1927; the Philippine Writers Association and University of the Philippines National Writers Workshop organizations have extended support for maximizing literary production. Some of the famous literary work at that time were “A Child of Sorrow” (1921) regarded as the first ever Filipino novel written in English which was written by Zoilo Galang and “Footnote to Youth: Tales of the Philippines and Others” (1933) by Jose Garcia Villa.
In the Japanese regime, the English language took a backseat as the Japanese military imposed the preference of using the Philippines’ mother tongue, Tagalog; rather than the English language. Most English writers were coerced to compose literary pieces in Tagalog which enforced some writers to join an underground guerilla movement that aim to write stories in English based on the Japanese-Filipino conflicts. These were written as propaganda literary pieces to help empower and uplift the spirits of the guerillas in such devastating time period.
The Barangay Writers Project was established in early 1946 to aid in the publication of books in English. Most of the contemporary or post-war literary compositions of Filipino authors have socioeconomic and political relevance such as “Without Seeing the Dawn” (1947) by Steven Javellana which is the first postwar novel...