Embassy of Spain funded Antonio Abad’s “El Campeon”

Repost

These two excerpts are from the article at the bottom.

Excerpt #1

After successfully publishing Adeline Guerra’s “Cuentos de Juana” and Jesus Balmori’s “Los Pajaros de Fuego,” Biblioteca Clasicos Hispanofilipinos’ third offering is Antonio Abad’s “El Campeon,” which tells the story of the champion cockfighting rooster Banogon and the days he spends on a farm as he lives out his retirement from cockfighting.

Excerpt #2

“Although it is seemly a light read, ‘El Campeon’ is a story of struggle and resilience. To fully grasp this concept, one must know that Antonio Abad wrote this novel during a time when the Americans where pushing for the eradication of cockfighting,” Domecq further elaborates.

– Gameness til the End

Something to crow about

Instituto Cervantes publishes the opus of ‘the greatest Hispanic Filipino novelist after Rizal’

By Ronald S. Lim
Published: June 1, 2013

Then one talks about Filipino literature in Spanish, the only name that comes to mind for average Filipinos is that of the country’s national hero, Jose Rizal. And even then, they’re encountering his work through the lens of translation. “Noli me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” may be required reading, but doing so in the language they were written in is not.

That’s why it’s no surprise that when one mentions the names of either Adelina Gurrea or Jesus Balmori, the most one can expect is a blank stare from the majority of the population. To ask them if they know of the books these people produced is an even bigger demand.

It is precisely to bring back into the national consciousness these writers of Filipino literature in Spanish that the Instituto Cervantes came up with Biblioteca Clasicos Hispanofilipinos. Funded by the Embassy of Spain, Biblioteca Clasicos Hispanofilipinos aims to preserve the works of Fil-Hispanic authors.

After successfully publishing Adeline Guerra’s “Cuentos de Juana” and Jesus Balmori’s “Los Pajaros de Fuego,” Biblioteca Clasicos Hispanofilipinos’ third offering is Antonio Abad’s “El Campeon,” which tells the story of the champion cockfighting rooster Banogon and the days he spends on a farm as he lives out his retirement from cockfighting.

The novel is annotated by Mexican scholar Salvador Garcia of the Colegio de San Luis in Mexico, as well as Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) lecturer Luisa Young.

The novel’s writer, Antonio Abad, was a poet, fictionist, playwright, and essayist from Cebu who has won the Premio Zobel — the oldest literary award in the Philippines — twice, as well as the Commonwealth Literature Prize in 1940. Abad is also the father to literary critic and poet Gemino Abad, and grandfather to novelist Cyan Abad-Jugo.

Present at the launch of “El Campeon” at the Ateneo de Manila University were Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domecq, ADMU president Fr. Jett Villarin SJ, as well as Gemino’s brother Antonio Abad Jr.

“Even if this book was a recipient of the Commonwealth Literature Prize in 1940, it is being published only now. It could have been lost. We are happy that this third title in the Clasicos Hispanofilipinos collection, a project initiated in 2009 by the Instituto Cervantes, has revived this gem,” remarked Villarin during the launch.

A FIL-HISPANIC EFFORT

The journey towards publication for “El Campeon” is a story in and of itself. When it was announced that “El Campeon” would become part of Biblioteca Clasicos Hispanofilipinos, the only copy that the Instituto Cervantes and ADMU had to work with was a typewritten manuscript with erasures and corrections in the author’s handwriting — and five or six pages missing.

Ambassador Domecq even recalls pulling some diplomatic string to try to find the missing pages, but even that proved a futile effort.

“When we first got from the Abad family the original copy that they had, there were five or six pages missing, and we were looking for these pages to be able to print this work. It wasn’t easy,” he says. “I tried to find it through our American colleague here. Being a winner of the Commonwealth Prize in 1940, I thought that there would be a copy in the Library of Congress, but that was not the case.”

It was only through the efforts of Garcia that the missing pages were finally located, and Young could finally get to work providing annotations for the uniquely Filipino aspects of the novel.

“It’s a truly Fil-Hispanic effort. Supervision was done by Spain. The critical addition and introduction was done by Mexico through the excellent work of Salvador Garcia. I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work on the manuscript and provided the Filipino contribution to revive and publish this literary gem,” she says.

RESURFACING

Just like the previously published books in the Biblioteca Clasicos Hispanofilipinos, Domecq says that “El Campeon” has something to offer the Filipino people, even if it is written in a language that is no longer the country’s lingua franca.

For instance, seen against the backdrop of American occupation, the mere use of Spanish is a subtle symbol of resistance against the new colonizers.

“Although it is seemly a light read, ‘El Campeon’ is a story of struggle and resilience. To fully grasp this concept, one must know that Antonio Abad wrote this novel during a time when the Americans where pushing for the eradication of cockfighting,” Domecq further elaborates.

The publication of “El Campeon” seven decades after it won the Commonwealth Prize is also symbolic of a larger movement when it comes to the nearly forgotten works of Filipino authors who wrote in Spanish when it was still the lingua franca of the country.

“With the unveiling of the latest addition to Clasicos Hispanofilipnos, we take another step towards the recovery of these forgotten works. I believe that El Campeon makes perfect sense as the third book in the series,” he proclaims. “The story of classic Filipino literature is a story of resilience. Although subjected to years of neglect, it is now slowly resurfacing in the consciousness of today’s generation of scholars and readers.”

Antonio Abad 

Antonio Mercado Abad (Antonio M. Abad) (1894-1970) was a poet, fictionist, playwright and essayist from Cebu, Philippines, who wrote in Spanish when such was the language of the Filipino society. He was educated at the University of San Carlos (formerly the Seminario-Colegio de San Carlos). He was a master of costumbrismo (local color), in a personal form of anecdote known as instantánea or ráfaga. He won the Premio Zobel in 1928 and 1929. He was a professor at Far Eastern University and the University of the Philippines, where he taught Spanish and co-founded the Department of Spanish (now European Languages). His novel La oveja de Nathan is widely discussed in the following article in Spanish, by Professor Manuel Garcia Castellon, from University of New Orleans: http://members.aol.com/farolan1/revprima.html# He is the father of literary critic and poet Gémino Abad.

Antonio abad.jpg

 

Novels

  • El Último Romántico, 1929, Premio Zobel.
  • La Oveja de Nathán, 1929, Premio Zobel.
  • Dagohoy, 1939, Premio Concurso Literario de la Mancomunidad Filipina.
  • El Campeón, 1939, Premio Concurso Literario de la Mancomunidad Filipina.
  • La Vida Secreta de Daniel Espeña, 1960 (one of the last Filipino novels written in Spanish).




poultry gamefowl chicken gamecock

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s