19 June 2020 – A growing number of German scholars are taking interest in studying Dr. Jose Rizal’s ‘Noli Me Tangere’ and ‘El Filibusterismo’ as the two novels provided the framework for a Master’s degree summer course entitled, “Jose Rizal y El Realismo Espanol,” which is being conducted from April to July 2020 as part of the Ruhr University in Bochum’s Philippine Studies program. The course, which is attended online by students of Spanish literature under Professor Roger Friedlein, attempts to define the essence and strategies of realist writing in metropolitan Spain and the Philippines.
“Rizal is not only one of the key figures of the Philippine independence from Spain who has biographical links to Germany, but he is as well a poet, dramatist and essayist and one of the most interesting Spanish-speaking novelists of the 19th century,” Professor Friedlein said. The professor added that through the course German students gain a better appreciation of Rizal’s novels as a valuable source of knowledge in the study of colonial society. They are also able to keenly establish the connection and similarity in literary techniques between Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Philippines, which were both distant territories of Spain in the 19th century.
“I am glad that German scholars have taken interest in studying Rizal’s writings and see their enduring relevance. As we commemorate Dr. Jose Rizal’s 159th birth anniversary, the course is but a timely reminder that there will always be something in Rizal the people of today can emulate. There is always something in Rizal for everyone, including the Germans,” Consul General Evelyn D. Austria said.
The two novels are being related to Spanish literature of Realism, which was the dominating literary aesthetic of Rizal’s time. Since they were originally written in Spanish, Rizal’s novels are being studied in comparison with Spanish novels like Doña Perfecta (1876), and Fortunata y Jacinta (1887) by Benito Pérez Galdós, one of the most influential Spanish realist novelists.
The course is the third seminar conducted at Ruhr University under its “Philippine Initiative” program, which is an interdisciplinary cooperation of researchers with an interest in topics related to the Philippines. Two other Philippine-related courses held recently were “Las Filipinas Hispánicas” (The Spanish Philippines) and “Berichte der Entdeckungsfahrten nach Südostasien” (Chronicles on the voyages of discovery to South-East Asia). The program forms part of the recently-signed cultu
ral agreement between the Philippine Consulate General in Frankfurt and the University. The agreement, which was sponsored by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, aims to support academic and research activities on Philippine matters, and the creation of a center that would serve as a hub for Philippine-related projects in Southern Germany. The activities may be followed on the blog, <philippinen.blogs.ruhr-uni-bochum.de>. END