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Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)

JOSÉ RIZAL (b. 1861 – d. 1896) is known as the hero of the Philippines and the greatest champion of Filipino nationalism and independence. He angered the Spanish authorities with Noli Me Tángere and its sequel, El filibusterismo and was executed.

Translated by HAROLD AUGENBRAUM

Penguin Books (First Published, 2006)
444 pages including Notes

RM85.00

Out of stock

ISBN: 9780143039693 Product ID: 24707 Category: Sub-subjects: , , ,

Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) is an 1887 novel by José Rizal during the colonization of the Philippines by the Spanish to describe the perceived inequities of the Spanish Catholic friars and the ruling government. In more than a century since its appearance, José Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere has become widely known as the great novel of the Philippines. A passionate love story set against the ugly political backdrop of repression, torture, and murder, “The Noli,” as it is called in the Philippines, was the first major artistic manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism, and Rizal became a guiding conscience—and martyr—for the revolution that would subsequently rise up in the Spanish province.

José Rizal-Mercado y Alonso, as his name emerges from the confusion of Filipino nomenclature, was of Malay extraction, with some distant strains of Spanish and Chinese blood. His genealogy reveals several persons remarkable for intellect and independence of character, notably a Philippine Eloise and Abelard, who, drawn together by their common enthusiasm for study and learning, became his maternal grandparents, as well as a great-uncle who was a traveler and student and who directed the boy’s early studies. Thus from the beginning, his training was exceptional, while his mind was stirred by the trouble already brewing in his community, and from the earliest hours of consciousness, he saw about him the wrongs and injustices which overgrown power will ever develop in dealing with a weaker subject.

One fact of his childhood, too, stands out clearly, well worthy of record: his mother seems to have been a woman of more than ordinary education for the time and place, and, pleased with the boy’s quick intelligence, she taught him to read Spanish from a copy of the Vulgate in that language, which she had somehow managed to secure and keep in her possession—the old, old story of the Woman and the Book, repeated often enough under strange circumstances, but under none stranger than these. The boy’s father was well-to-do, so he was sent at the age of eight to study in the new Jesuit school in Manila, not however before he had already inspired some awe in his simple neighbors by the facility with which he composed verses in his native tongue.

He began his studies in a private house while waiting for an opportunity to enter the Ateneo, as the Jesuit school is called, and while there he saw one of his tutors, Padre Burgos, haled to an ignominious death on the garrote as a result of the affair of 1872. This made a deep impression on his childish mind and, in fact, seems to have been one of the principal factors in molding his ideas and shaping his career.

That the effect upon him was lasting and that his later judgment confirmed him in the belief that a great injustice had been done, are shown by the fact that his second important work, El Filibusterismo, written about 1891, and miscalled by himself a “novel,” for it is really a series of word-paintings constituting a terrific arraignment of the whole régime, was dedicated to the three priests executed in 1872, in these words: “Religion, in refusing to degrade you, has placed in doubt the crime imputed to you; the government, in surrounding your case with mystery and shadow, gives reason for belief in some error, committed in fatal moments; and all the Philippines, in venerating your memory and calling you martyrs, in no way acknowledges your guilt.” The only answer he ever received to this was eight Remington bullets fired into his back.

Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) at the time the work was written had a peculiar fitness as a title. Not only was there an apt suggestion of a comparison with the common flower of that name, but the term is also applied in pathology to malignant cancer which affects every bone and tissue in the body, and that this latter was in the author’s mind would appear from the dedication and from the summing-up of the Philippine situation in the final conversation between Ibarra and Elias. But in a letter written to a friend in Paris at the time, the author himself says that it was taken from the Gospel scene where the risen Savior appears to the Magdalene, to whom He addresses these words, a scene that has been the subject of several notable paintings.

In this connection, it is interesting to note what he himself thought of the work, and his frank statement of what he had tried to accomplish, made just as he was publishing it: “Noli Me Tangere, an expression taken from the Gospel of St. Luke, means touch me not. The book contains things of which no one up to the present time has spoken, for they are so sensitive that they have never suffered themselves to be touched by anyone whomsoever. For my own part, I have attempted to do what no one else has been willing to do: I have dared to answer the calumnies that have for centuries been heaped upon us and our country. I have written of the social condition and the life, of our beliefs, our hopes, our longings, our complaints, and our sorrows; I have unmasked the hypocrisy which, under the cloak of religion, has come among us to impoverish and to brutalize us, I have distinguished the true religion from the false, from the superstition that traffics with the holy word to get money and to make us believe in absurdities for which Catholicism would blush, if ever it knew of them. I have unveiled that which has been hidden behind the deceptive and dazzling words of our governments. I have told our countrymen of our mistakes, our vices, our faults, and our weak complaisance with our miseries there. Where I have found virtue I have spoken of it highly in order to render it homage; and if I have not wept in speaking of our misfortunes, I have laughed over them, for no one would wish to weep with me over our woes, and laughter is ever the best means of concealing sorrow. The deeds that I have related are true and have actually occurred; I can furnish proof of this. My book may have (and it does have) defects from an artistic and esthetic point of view—this I do not deny—but no one can dispute the veracity of the facts presented.”

Introduction by Harold Augenbraum

A Note on the Translation

Suggestions for Further Reading

To My Country

1. A Gathering
2. Crisóstomo Ibarra
3. Dinner
4. Heretic and Subversive
5. A Star in the Dark Night
6. Captain Tiago
7. Idyll on a Terrace
8. Memories
9. National Affairs
10. The Village
11. Sovereignty
12. All Saints
13. The Storm Brews
14. Tasio, Madman or Philosopher
15. The Sextons
16. Sisa
17. Basilio
18. Souls in Torment
19. Adventures of a Schoolmaster
20. The Meeting at City Halil
21. A Mother’s Tale
22. Light and Shadow
23. A Fishing Expedition
24. In the Forest
25. At the Philosopher’s House
26. Festival Eve
27. At Nightfall
28. Correspondences
29. Morning
30. In the Church
31. The Sermon
32. The Crane
33. Freedom of Thought
34. The Banquet
35. Comments
36. The First Cloud
37. His Excellency
38. The Procession
39. Doña Consolación
40. Right and Might
41. Two Visitors
42. The de Espadañas
43. Plans
44. An Examination of Conscience
45. The Persecuted
46. The Cockpit
47. Two Ladies
48. An Enigma
49. Voice of the Persecuted
50. Elías’s Family
51. Changes
52. The Card of the Dead and the Shadows
53. Il buon dí si conosce da mattina
54. Quid quid latet
55. Catastrophe
56. What Is Said and What Is Believed
57. Vae victis!
58. The Accursed
59. Homeland and Interests
60. María Clara Weds
61. Pursuit on the Lake
62. Father Dámaso Explains Himself
63. Christmas Eve

Epilogue

Appendix: Elías and Salomé

Notes

Weight 0.356 kg
Dimensions 19.6 × 12.9 × 2 cm
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