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New Left Review 2, March-April 2000


The astonishing feat of a 23-year-old Filipino folklorist who took the newly invented discipline by storm under Spanish rule. What did patriotism mean for an Ilocano before modern nationalism; how many discrepant voices could an overseas enlightenment release?

BENEDICT ANDERSON

THE ROOSTER'S EGG

Pioneering World Folklore in the Philippines

In 1887, at the Madrid Exposición Filipina, a 23-year-old indio named Isabelo de los Reyes, living in colonial Manila, won a silver medal for a huge Spanish-language manuscript which he called El Folk-Lore Filipino. He composed this text in unwitting tandem with José Rizal (then aged 25), who was wandering around continental Europe composing the incendiary novel Noli Me Tangere, which earned him martyrdom in 1896 and, later, eternal status as Father of His Country and First Filipino.

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Benedict Anderson, ‘The Rooster's Egg’, NLR 2: £3
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