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CORE 5—21st Century Literature from the Philippines and the World

Lecture 1:
Philippine Literary History (Outline)

I. Pre-Colonial Times (Prehistory to 1521 to 1564)

A. Oral Lore
i. Literature passed through oral means; The longest period; Began counting on
1521, written records; “las islas Filipinas”; Filipinos are referred to as natives,
ethnic minorities, and tribal Filipinos; Tabon Man in Palawan in 1962 allowed
us to speak of a prehistory as far as 50000 years ago; cultural items to
reconstruct what foreign cultures obscured
ii. Motifs
1. Beginning of life and Earth; Great people/Supernatural heroes;
Gods/Goddesses; Mythical creatures: aswang, duwende, tikbalang, etc.;
Focused on morality; Daily encounters in life/Language of daily life;
occasions of human life
iii. Forms
1. Riddles; proverbs; short poems; Ambahan; songs; myths; folk tales;
legend; epic
2. Formulaic repetitions; stereotyping of characters; regular rhythmic
devices; monoriming heptasyllabic
II. Colonial Literature (16th to 18th Century)
A. Literature under Spanish Colonialism (1565-1872)
i. Religion; way of life; system of writing/roman alphabet; attempts to erase pure
Filipino identity and culture; opening subjects of literature; didacticism;
publications controlled largely by the church; alien subject matter; escape from
the difficult life; vocabulario de la lengua Tagala (Pedro de Buenaventura, 1613)
ii. Motifs
1. Values oriented; lives of saints; bible; moral
III. Classical Literature (19th Century)
A. Literature of Revolution against Colonialism (1898-1945)
i. “Golden Age” of Tagalog Novel; economic system loosened from public to private
ownership; pragmatism; dependence on science; abhorrence of the irrational;
control and regulation of publications; rise of literacy; taga-bayan;
1. Period of Enlightenment (1872-1896)
a. Desire to exhibit their intellect; establish an equal position with Spaniards;
Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, Lopez-Jaena, Luna, Jacinto, Palma; subversion
2. American Colonization (1900-1942)
a. Spanish, Tagalog, other Vernaculars were used; conditions of the country;
imitation of American writing style.
3. Period of Initial Autonomy/Commonwealth (1935-1942)
a. Tydings-McDuffie Act; rise of free presses: art for art’s sake movement
4. Japanese Colonization (1942-1945)
a. Golden period of short stories and Tagalog drama; Haiku; banning of
English, proliferation of vernacular; Tanaga
IV. Modern Period (20th Century)
A. Literature Under the Republic (1946-1985)
i. Disastrous economy; liberation movements; new criticism; elite and masses;
serialized novels; existentialism and identity; national consciousness; Martial
B. Literature After EDSA (1986-1995)
i. Fall of martial law; Communist Party of the Philippines; underground writing;
rise of writers organization; establishment of Don Carlos Palanca Award for
Literature; non-traditional projects
V. Contemporary Period/21st Century (21st Century)