The publication of Jose Garcia-Villa’s Doveglion: Collected Poems by Penguin Books in 2008 is remarkable not because it reveals a renewed interest in Villa’s work (as Luis Francia claims in the introduction of the book) but because it presents the nostalgic posthumous return of the repressed. Francia, a Villa critic, fails to situate the poet in the context of the Philippines’ neocolonial status. Francia’s mapping of Villa’s trajectory as a poet is teleological; it elides those historical contexts that allowed US imperialist power to dominate the Philippine political economy in certain periods. Timothy Yu, a Chinese-American Stanford scholar, contends that Villa is a “universal” writer whose mastery of the “imperial” language is impressive, not unlike Conrad’s or Nabokov’s. Both critics’ evaluations, in fact, reify the poet as a transnational figure, belying the Philippines’ neocolonial status. In the face of criticism that rests easy with a pat labeling of the poet as a proponent of “art for art’s sake,” what this paper suggests is a reading of this artistic practice as a symptom of the bourgeois artist’s alienation from neoliberal globalization. In reading this as a symptom, I wish to frame Villa’s work around conditions of possibility that are responsible for the resurrection of Villa as a classic.


criticism on Villa, transnationalization

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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
Professor of Cultural Studies
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)
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
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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
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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)