The Filipino novel which arose in the 19th century is understood to have consolidated the nationalistic spirit that fueled the anti-colonial revolution against Spain. Contemporary writing drew from the radical lessons of the past as a tradition of resistance writing intensified and grew. Yet as Ninotchka Rosca’s State of War (1988) shows, the novel, despite or alongside its politics,
also brings to the fore formal and substantial problems of excess and incoherence. This paper explores the instances of the mythical that bring about these points of incomprehensibility, even scattered, perhaps, absolute subversions of the genre and the nationalist cause in which it partakes. Becoming mythopoeia, the novel turns into a postcolonial mode of storytelling and (re)living myth that puts in peril (as it assures) its form, its cause, and even its readership. With theories of narrative and history by Walter Benjamin and Friedrich Nietzsche, more recent contributions to postcolonial studies by Filipino scholars, and insight into myth in modern fiction by Michael Bell, close reading of aspects of State of War will calibrate the mythical for
meanings alternative to reductive or dismissive tendencies in critical theory.


aesthetics, historical fiction, modernism, myth, opacity, postcolonial fiction

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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
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
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)