Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Noli Me Tangere (novel)
Noli Me Tangere is a novel written by José Rizal, and published in 1887, in Europe. The title is Latin, and means "touch me not." Rizal took these words from the Bible, specifically the Gospel of St. John 20: 13-17. The English version is often titled as The Social Cancer. This was his first novel. He was 26 at that time. This book was historically significant and was instrumental in the creation of the Philippines. The book indirectly influenced a revolution although the author, Jose Rizal, advocated non-violent means and only direct representation to the Spanish government. The novel was written in Spanish, the language of the educated at that time. There were many and diverse native languages and regional cultures.
Rizal started his novel in Madrid, Spain. Half was done by the time he left for Paris, and it was completed in Berlin, Germany. Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, a well known writer volunteered his service for proofreading and consultant.
The novel created so much controversy that only a few days after his arrival, Governor General Terrero received him at the Malacañang Palace and told him of the charges saying that the Noli was full of subversive ideas. After a discussion, the liberal Governor General was appeased; but he mentioned that he was unable to offer resistance against the pressure of the church to take action against the book. The persecution can be discerned from Rizal's letter to Leitmeritz: "My book made a lot of noise; everywhere, I am asked about it. They wanted to anthemize me (to excommunicate me) because of it . . . I am considered a German spy, an agent of Bismarck, they say I am a Protestant, a freemason, a sorcerer, a damned soul. It is whispered that I want to draw plans, that I have a foreign passport and that I wander through the streets by night ..."
This novel and its sequel, El Filibusterismo, were banned in the Philippines because of their portrayal of corruption and abuse by the country's Spanish government and clergy. An example which has become a classic in the Philippines is 'Padre Damaso' which reflects the covert fathering of the Spanish clergy of children. In the story, Padre Damaso impregnates a woman. Copies were smuggled in nevertheless and when Rizal returned to the Philippines after completing medical studies, he quickly ran afoul of the local government. First exiled to Mindanao, he was later arrested for "inciting rebellion" based largely on his writings. He was executed in Manila in 1896 at the age of thirty-five.
The book was instrumental in creating a racial Filipino identity and consciousness as many Filipinos identified with their respective regions to the advantage of the Spanish authorities. It lampooned, caricatured and exposed various elements in the colonial society.
The book is a social novel narrating the romance of Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara. Crisostomo Ibarra is the son of Don Rafael Ibarra, and had studied in Europe. Maria Clara is a girl blessed with beauty, grace and charm. She is the daughter of a Spanish fray (priest), Padre Damaso and a Filipina, Dona Pia Alba who married Capitan Tiago.
The Spanish authorities, particularly Padre Damaso, hated and feared Crisostomo Ibarra, a young, wealthy, European-educated Filipino, because he had patriotic ideas of helping his oppressed countrymen.
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