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Chronotopes and Intertexts: Nation-Making in the Literary Representations of the Philippine Revolution of 1896/1898

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This dissertation is a study of the literary representations of the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the United States which took place at the turn of the nineteenth century. The literary work of select Filipino historical novelists featured in this study is both a political and moral call for national unity around the iconic symbol of the nation that has endured to this day: the Philippine Revolution of 1896 / 1898. Similar to nationalist historians, historical novelists write the story of the nation. Through national homogenization, these novelists create notions and visions of a nation that gesture towards wholeness and unity despite what is known about the Philippine social system: strong family, kinship, and ethnic ties that underlie the propensity for fragmentation which in turn reveals itself in recurring factional politics and regionalism. The homogenizing tendencies of the Philippine historical novel to address disunity are revealed through chronotopicity (the novelistic time-space organization) and intertextuality (the interface between the “fictional” and “historical”). The novel then assumes a form that deviates from the time-honored European norm of “seamlessness of fact and fiction.” In fact, the novelists expose the seams between the “fictional” and the “historical,” such that fragments and chunks of the historical record are visibly imbedded within the novelistic text. The novel itself becomes an archive: a repository of the nation’s history for present and future generations of readers and citizens. Thus, this study is about “revolution” in three levels: the literary (formal), the historiographical (the writing of history), and the political (nation-making).

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