Narrative Rupture as History, or the Search for the “Missing Text” in Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado and Gina Apostol’s The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata

Dinah T Roma



The search for the “missing text” is the central trope in Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado (2008) and Gina Apostol’s The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata (2009). In Ilustrado, the search for The Bridges Ablaze, the missing manuscript of the dead migrant Filipino writer Crispin Salvador propels the novel from beginning to end. In The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata, the tattered loose leaf pages from the diary of the half-blind revolutionary Raymundo Mata become the annotative focus of a psychoanalyst, a translator, and an editor. While the novels have received critical reviews, there have been no studies yet that look into the trope of the “missing text” as it amplifies the narrative ruptures within the novels. Taking cues from historiographical metafiction and narratology, ruptures and disruptions are symptomatic of a deeper discontinuity in history and may point to a desire—Lacanian in nature—to rewrite and contain the schisms of Philippine colonial history into fiction. By examining the narrative ruptures in the two novels, as they may take the form of textual productivity, this paper looks into how Philippine colonial history, particularly, as embodied in Jose Rizal, continues to undergo a reimagining that allows for more possibilities of reading and critique.


Jose Rizal, historiographic metafiction, narrative, Philippine colonial history, rupture

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

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

Joel David
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Inha University (South Korea)

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

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)
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University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

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

David Lloyd
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University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
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University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
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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
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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)