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Abstract

This work analyses the colonial racial discourses that are apparent in the novel Noli Me Tángere by Filipino revolutionary José Rizal. The essay proposes that the novel should be viewed through the same lens as that of a Latin American “foundational fiction,” as defined by Doris Sommer, as the repetition of various romantic tropes that plays with the power dynamic between the male enlightened revolutionary and the passive native female prize. In conjunction with Sommer’s theory, I apply Deleuze and Guattari’s three-point definition of minor literature, namely related to language, political intent, and audience, thereby drawing out the political language of the novel, as well as connecting this Philippine novel, originally written in Spanish, with other “Latin American” works. Through the application of contemporary theories of nationhood, this essay seeks to discuss questions of race in the late nineteenth-century Philippines by examining the mimetic nature of the novel to the life of Rizal. Additionally, through these comparative modes of analysis, the essay also proposes to challenge the boundaries of what it means to be a Hispanic novel in the context of Philippine literature in the twenty-first century.

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