The Bago and the Matandá: Representations of the Colonizer in Spanish Narratives about the Philippines in the Late Nineteenth Century

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2021.003714

Abstract

This article sets out to explore two of the most prominent recurring figures in Spanish literary production about the Philippines at the end of the nineteenth century: the so-called bago, a Spaniard who is “new” to the islands, meaning that they just arrived in the Philippines, and the bago’s counterpart, the matandá, a Spaniard who has spent a considerable amount of time in the colony. The bipartite trope is studied in nine texts by Spanish authors, written between 1876 and 1894. By composing scenes of encounter between these two figures, the authors seek to illuminate an idea of ambivalence present in this colonial context: as they try to identify the Philippines as part of the Spanish nation, they also feel the need to highlight the differences between the newcomer and the Spanish emigrant who has adapted to a very high degree to Filipino practices and customs. In light of this colonizer subject who is almost the same, but not quite, the authors develop a struggle of recognition vs. distinction, while creating several discourses to justify the convenience—or inconvenience—of this process of acclimatization.

Keywords

Spanish Literature, aplatanado, colonizer subject, environmental influence, pathologization, Spanish national construction.

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)