Anatomy of the Anti-Hero

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Paint my picture truly like me, and not flatter me at all, but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me. -- Oliver Cromwell Two views of Rizal that scan the man behind the monument are clearly headed for controversy. A startling anatomy of the hero is offered in "The First Filipino" by León Maria Guerrero and in "Rizal from Within" by Ante Radaic. The Guerrero book, in English, is a biography in the modern manner, where the details are massed not for their scholarly but their emotional value, and the delineation is by narrative, crafted, progressive and dramatic like a novel, and just as readable, though the style is hardly Guerrero at his felicitous best. The Radaic piece, in Spanish, is a psychoanalysis of Rizal, with emphasis on his formative years, and has clinical fascination, though rather prolix and turgid in the writing, its special quality evident in its sources, which range, not from Retana to Blumentritt, as one would expect in a Rizal study, but from Rilke and Dostoevsky to Proust and Joyce! The Guerrero opus is magnum. It's a massive tome (over 500 pages), has 24 pages of bibliographical references, was unanimously awarded the first prize in the biography contest during the Rizal centennial. It was published by the National Heroes Commission, has so far been received by what one editor calls "a conspiracy of silence," but can be expected to find its way to the top of the Rizal shelf and into every debate over the hero's personality. The Radaic study is basically an extended essay, and a tentative one; the author subtitled it "An Introduction to a Study of Rizal's Inferiority Complex." It's [end of page 53] barely 70 pages long and is still in manuscript, awaiting translator and publisher. It begins with an exposition of Adler's theories, concludes with a letter of Kafka to his father. Radaic, a Yugoslavian exile, finished his study in late 1963, just before his tragic death. For epigraph, Guerrero uses the words of...
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