Noli Me Tangere

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  • Topic: Noli Me Tangere, Novel, Father Dámaso
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Noli Me Tangere

* "My proposal on the book," Rizal wrote on January 2, 1884, "was unanimously approved. But afterwards difficulties and objections were raised which seemed to me rather odd, and a number of gentlemen stood up and refused to discuss the matter any further. In view of this I decided not to press it any longer, feeling that it was impossible to count on general support…” * Rizal decided to write the novel on his own.

* After reading a novel entitled Uncle Tom's Cabin, he was inspired to write a novel depicting the situation of Filipinos under Spanish friars. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an anti-slavery novel written by the American author Harriet Beecher Stowe

* Noli Me Tangere was Rizal’s first novel. He was 26 at its publication. This book was historically significant and was instrumental in the establishing of the Filipino’s sense of national identity. The book indirectly influenced a revolution although the author, José Rizal, actually advocated for direct representation to the Spanish government and larger role of the Philippines inside the Spaniard political affairs. The novel was written in Spanish, the language of the educated at a time when Filipinos were markedly segregated by diverse native languages and regional cultures.

* Rizal finished the novel in December 1886. At first, according to one of Rizal's biographers, Rizal feared the novel might not be printed, and that it would remain unread. He was struggling with financial constraints at the time and thought it would be hard to pursue printing the novel. A financial aid came from a friend named Máximo Viola which helped him print his book at a fine print media in Berlin named Berliner Buchdruckerei-Aktiengesellschaft. Rizal at first, however, hesitated but Viola insisted and ended up lending Rizal P300 for 2,000 copies; Noli was eventually printed in Berlin, Germany. The printing was finished earlier than the estimated five months. Viola arrived in Berlin in December 1886, and by March 21, 1887, Rizal had sent a copy of the novel to his friend Blumentritt.

I. Title:

* Noli me tangere is a Latin phrase that Rizal took from the Bible, meaning “Touch me not.” In John 20:13-17, the newly-risen Christ says to Mary Magdalene: “Touch me not; I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.” It was said that on the First Easter Sunday, St Mary Magdalene visited Jesus in the tomb, who had just risen from the dead.

* It has also been noted by French writer D. Blumenstihl that “Noli me tangere” was a name used by ophthalmologists for cancer of the eyelids. That as an ophthalmologist himself Rizal was influenced by this fact is suggested in his dedication, “To My Country”:

“Recorded in the history of human sufferings is a cancer of so malignant a character that the least touch irritates it and awakens in it the sharpest pains. Thus, how many times, when in the midst of modern civilizations I have wished to call thee before me, now to accompany me in memories, now to compare thee with other countries, hath thy dear image presented itself showing a social cancer like to that other!”

* As shown by this excerpt, the alternate English title, The Social Cancer, is taken from the book’s dedication.

II. Book Cover and their Symbols:

* The Silhouette of a Girl's Head
* it was popular belief that the silhouette of the woman in the cover of Noli Me Tangere is the unfortunate MariaClara, Crisostomo Ibarra’s love.

"'Padre Cura! Padre Cura!' [Padre Salvi] the Spaniards cried to him; but he did not mind them. He ran in the direction of the Capitan Tiago's house. There he breathed a sigh of relief. He saw through the transparent gallery an adorable silhouette full of grace and the lovely contours of Maria Clara and that of her aunt bearing glasse and cups." (366)

* Two Hairy Calves Protruding...
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