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Toward a People's Literature


Toward a People's Literature: Essays in the Dialectics of Praxis and Contradiction in Philippine Writing

Initiating a precedent by his previous books -- Carlos Bulosan and the Imagination of the Class Struggle, The Radical Tradition in Philippine Literature, and Balogtas: Art and Revolution -- E. Sn Juan, indisputably the most audacious and inventive Filipino critical intelligence today, aims to unfold a two-sided project in this collection: to explore the possibility of a materialist analysis of key texts in Philippine writing, and to establish the site ofr a deconstruction/ reconstitution of the canon of our national literary heritage. Both spring from the fundamental premise that literature as an ideological form/process cannot be conceived apart from the web of social-historical practices and class contradictions that define any social formation.

While the early essays like the explication of Balagtas' poem and the commentaries on specific novels betray the diacritical matrix they share with the theorizing of Lukács and Sartre, the historical chapters and the assessment of Bulosan reflect a post-Althusserian and post-structuralist problematic aimed at interrogating the crisis of imperialist liberalism in the Philippines today.

This is the first time in the Philippine scene that a rigorous avant-garde critical theorizing and materialist reading of texts as ideological practices inscribed in historical-political contradictions, has been attempted.