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Chapter 8: Noli Me Tangere Published in Berlin (1887)

Idea of Writing a Novel on the Philippines


Rizal was inspired by the book named Uncle Toms Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The story
portrays the brutalities of American slave-owners and the pathetic conditons of the unfortunate
Negro slaves.
January 2, 1884, proposed the writing of a novel about the Philippines by a group of Filipinos.
Namely Paterno brothers (Pedro, Maximo, Antonio) Graciano Lopez, Jaena Evaristo Aguirre,
Eduardo de Lete, Julio Llorente ,Melecio Figueroa and Valentin Ventura. His proposal was
anounimously approved.
Unfortunately, Rizals project did not materialize. Those compatriots who were expected to
collaborate on the novel did not write anything. However, almost everybody wanted to write on
women. Rizal was disgusted at such flippancy. He was more disgusted to see that his
companions, instead of working seriously on the novel wasted their time gambling or flirting
with Spanish senioritas.
He was determined to write the novel alone.
The Writing of the Noli
Toward the end of 1884, Rizal began writing the novel in Madrid and finished about one- half of
it.
When he went to Paris in 1885, after completing his studies in the Central University of Madrid,
he continued writing the novel in Germany. He wrote the last fes chapters of the Noli in
Wilhelmsfeld in April-June 1886.
In Berlin during the winter days of February 1886. Rizal made the final revisions on the
manuscript of the Noli. Sick and penniless, he saw no hope og having it published, so that in a
momentary fit of desperation, he almost hurled it into flames. Years later he told his good friend
and former classmate, Fernando Canon: I did not believe that the Noli Me Tangere would ever
be published when I was in Berlin, broken-hearted, weakened and discouraged from hunger and
deprivation. I was on the point of throwing my work into the fire as a thing accurse and fit only
to die
Viola, Savior of the Noli
In the midst of his despondency and misery, Rizal received a telegram from Dr. Maximo Viola
who was coming to Berlin. This friend of Rizal was a scion of rich family of San Miguel,
Bulacan. When he arrived in Berlin shortly before Christmas day of 1887, he was shocked to
find Rizal living in poverty and deplorably sickly due to lack of proper nourishment.
Upon seeing his friend, Viola, being loaded with ample funds, glady agreed to finance the
printing cost of the Noli. He also loaned Rizal some cash money for living expenses.
After the Christmas season, Rizal put the finishing touches on his novel. To save printing
expenses, he deleted certain passages in his manuscript, including a whole chapter of Elias and
Salome
On February 21, 1887, the Noli was finally finished and ready for printing. With Viola, rizal
went to different shops in berlin to survey the cost of printing.
After few days, they finally found a printing shop the Berliner Buchdruckrei-Action-
Gesselschaft whichcharged the lowest rate, that is 300 for 2000 copies of the novel.
Rizal Suspected as Frenchy Spy
During the printing of the Noli, a rare incident happened to Rizal. One morning the chief of
police Berlin paid a sudden visit to Rizals boarding house and requested to see the latters
passport. Unfortunately Rizal couldnt produce a passport, for he had none. The police chief told
him to secure a passport within four days, otherwise he would be deported.
At the expiration of the four day ultimatum, Rizal presented himself at the office of the German
police chief, apologizing for his failure to obtain a passport and politely asked the latter why he
was to be deported when he had not committed any crime. The police chief informed Rizal that
he had received intelligence reports that Rizal made frequent visits to the villages and little towns
in the rural areas, thereby arousing the German governments suspicion that he was a French spy,
inasmuch as he entered Germany from Paris, where he resided for some years and was
apparently a lover of a France, whose language and culture he knew so much. At that time the
relations between France and Germany were strained on account of Alsace-Loraine.
Rizal fluent in Germany explained to the police chief that he was not a French Spy, but was a
Filipino Physician and scientist, particularly an ethnologist. As an ethnologist, he visited the rural
areas of the countries he visited to observe the customs and life-styles of their simple inhabitants.
Favorably impressed with Rizals explanation and fascinated by his mastery of the German
language and personal charisma, the police chief was satisfied and allowed him to stay freely in
Germany.
Printing of the Noli Finished
March 21, 1887, the Noli Me Tangere came off the press. Rizal immediately sent the first copies
of the printed novel to his intimate friends, including Blumentrit, Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor, G.
lopez Jaena, Mariano Ponce, and Felix Hidalgo.
March 29, 1887, Rizal, in token of his appreciation and gratitude, gave Viola the galley proofs
of the Noli carefully rolled around the pen that he used in writing it and a complimentary copy,
Dr. Maximo Viola was the first person to read and appreciate Rizals work.
The Title of the Novel
Noli Me Tangere, a Latin phrase which means Touch Me Not. It is not originally conceived by
Rizal, for he admitted taking it form Bible.
In March 5, 1887, Rizal writing to Felix R. Hidaldo in French, said Noli Me Tangere, words
taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke, signify do not touch me in the citing biblical source,
Rizal made a mistake. It should be the Gospel of the St. John (Chapter 20, Verses 13 to 17).
According to St. John, on the First Easter Sunday, St. Mary Magdalene visited the holy
Sepulcher, and to her Our Loard Jesus, just arisen from the dead, said
Touch me not; I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I
ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God
The Authors Dedication
Rizal dedicated his Noli Me Tangere to the Philippines To My Fatherland Rizal sacrificed
his personal needs in order for him to make a difference for our country. He made the novel to
expose all the doings of the Spaniards in order to reawaken our senses.
Synopsis of the Noli
The Noli Me Tangere contains 63 chapters and an epilogue.
The main characters are:
Captain Tiago- (Santiago de los Santos) known by his nickname Tiago and political
title CapitnTiago is a Filipino businessman and the cabeza de barangay or head of barangay of
the town of San Diego. He is also the known father of Mara Clara.
In the novel, it is said that Kapitn Tiago is the richest man in the region of Binondo and he
possessed real properties in Pampanga and Laguna de Bay. He is also said to be a good Catholic,
friend of the Spanish government and was considered as a Spanish by colonialists. Capitn Tiago
never attended school, so he became a domestic helper of a Dominican friar who taught him
informal education. He married Pa Alba from Santa Cruz
Crisostomo Ibarra commonly referred to the novel as Ibarra or Crisstomo, is the
protagonist in the story. Son of a Filipino businessman, Don Rafael Ibarra, he studied in Europe
for seven years. Ibarra is also Mara Clara's fianc. Several sources claim that Ibarra is also
Rizal's reflection: both studied in Europe and both persons believe in the same ideas. Upon his
return, Ibarra requested the local government of San Diego to construct a public school to
promote education in the town.
Maria Clara - is Ibarra's fiance. She was raised by Capitn Tiago, San Diego's cabeza de
barangay and is the most beautiful and widely celebrated girl in San Diego. In the later parts of
the novel, Mara Clara's identity was revealed as an illegitimate daughter of Father Dmaso,
former parish curate of the town, and Doa Pa Alba, wife of Capitn Tiago. In the end she
entered local convent for nuns Beaterio de Santa Clara. In the epilogue dealing with the fate of
the characters, Rizal stated that it is unknown if Mara Clara is still living within the walls of the
convent or she is already dead
Padre Damaso a fat Francisian friar who had been parish priest for 20 years of San Diego
(Calamba) He is best known as a notorious character who speaks with harsh words and has been
a cruel priest during his stay in the town. He is revealed to be the real father of Mara Clara and
an enemy of Crisstomo's father, Rafael Ibarra. Later, he and Mara Clara had bitter arguments
whether she would marry Alfonso Linares or go to a convent. At the end of the novel, he is again
reassigned to a distant town and is found dead one day.

Padre Sybila, a young Dominican parish priest of Binondoa Dominican friar. He is described as
short and has fair skin. He is instructed by an old priest in his order to watch Crisstomo Ibarra.
Senor Guevara as elderly and kind lieutenant of the Guardia Civila close friend of Don Rafael
Ibarra. He reveals to Crisstomo how Don Rafael Ibarra's death came about.
Don Tiburcio de Espadana a bogus Spanish physician, lame and henspecked husband of
Dona Victorina and several ladies.
Elas -is Ibarra's mysterious friend and ally. Elas made his first appearance as a pilot during a
picnic of Ibarra and Mara Clara and her friends. He wants to revolutionize the country and to be
freed from Spanish oppression.
Sisa - is the mother of two young boys who disappear. With her mother love, her grief and her
frustration, she is thought to represent the suffering motherland.
Crispn- brother of Basilio. Dies at the hands of the "sacristan mayor" and Padre Salv.
Basilio- brother of Crispn and son of Sisa and Pedro. Last person to see Elas alive.
Doa Consolacin - is the muse of the cuartel. She is the violent wife of the Alferez and has
treated Sisa cruelly.
Alfonso Linares - is the godson of Padre Damaso and a distant cousin of Don Tiburcio from
Spain. He is hard pressed to be Maria Clara's fiance instead of Ibarra.


The Noli Based on the Truth
The facts that I narrate there are all truea and have happened; I can prove them said Rizal.
Maria Clara - Leonor Rivera
Ibarra and Elias represented Rizal himself.
Tasio the philosopher as his brother,
Paciano
Padre Salvi Padre Antonio Piernavieja
Captain Tiago Captain Hilario Sunico of
San Nicolas
Dona Victorina Dona Agustuna Medel
Basilio and Crispin Crisostomo brothers of
Hagonoy
Padre Damaso was typical of a
domineering friar during the days of Rizal,
who was arrogant, immoral and anti Filipino

Missing Chapter of the Noli
In the original manuscript of Noli Me Tangere, there was a chapter entitled Elias and Salome
which follows chapter XXIV In the Woods. This particular chapter on Elias and Salome was
deleted by Rizal so that it was not included in the printed novel. His reason for doing so was
definitely economic.
The summary of the Story Elias and Salome
Salome is a modest young lady, wearing worn-out clothes that are nonetheless clean and
decent. Her garments are covered with patches, which she most likely stitched herself, and the
only accessories she has on her are a comb made from turtle shell on her hair, and a black rosary
around her neck.
Salome waits desperately for Elias, thinking that he would pass by the water any time
soon. Elias, however, is nowhere to be seen because he is in fact hiding from the authorities who
are currently patrolling the lake. When the two finally get to meet, Salome tells the youth of her
plan to move to Mindoro and live with her relatives, and requests that he go with her. Elias,
however, refuses her offer because he does not want her to be entangled with the tragedies and
troubles of his past. He tells the lady that she must marry an honorable and respectable man, one
whom she truly deserves and who can make her happy.



Rizals Friends Praise the Noli
The friends of Rizal hailed the novel, praising it in glowing colors. As expected, Rizals enemies
condemned it. Rizal anticipated the vitriolic attacks of his enemies, who were sore to be told the
truth of their evil ways. As he Blumentritt: the government and the friars will probably attack
the work, refuting my statements, but I trust in God of truth and in the persons who have actually
seen our sufferings
Of the numerous congratulatory letters received by Rizal from his friends about the Noli, that
from Blumentritt was significant, First of all wrote Blumentritt accept my cordial
congratulations for your beautiful novel about customs which interest me extraordinarily, Your
work, as we Germans say, has been written with blood of the heart, and so the heart also speaks.
I continue reading it with much interest, I shall beg to ask you now and then for an explanation
when I find words unknown to me; for instance, the word filibuster must have certain meaning in
the Philippines that I do not find in the Spanish of the Peninsular nor in the that of the Spanish
peoples of America.
Blumentritt knew that Rizal is a man of extraordinary talent and he is happy to have been
honored with Rizals friendship.
In London, Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor, Filipino patriot and lawyer who had been exiled due to his
complicity in Cavite Mutiny of 1872, read avidly the Noli and was very much impressed by its
author.
On May 3,1887, he felicitated Rizal, saying :If the Quixote immortalizes its author because it
exposes to the world ailments of Spain, your Noli Me Tangere will bring you an equal glory.
With your modesty and your voracious and able appraisal, you have dealt a mortal blow to that
old tree full of blemishes and decay. Every Filipino patriot will read you book with avity and
upon discovering in every line a veracious idea and in every word a fitting advice, he will be
inspired and he will regard your book as the masterpiece of a Filipino and the proof that those
who thought us incapable of producing great intellects are mistaken or lying.