Atmosfera Rizaliana: Metonymic Journeys of Storm Tropes in José Rizal’s Writing on the Philippines
Keywords:storm tropes, postcolonial ecocriticism, environmental and literary history, tropical imaginaries, climate change, nineteenth-century literature, José Rizal, Philippines
Stormy weather appears in recurrent instances across the literary and political oeuvre of José Rizal, a nineteenth-century figure who is one of the most significant and well-known personages in Philippine history. This paper analyzes the manner by which he describes storms in a few of his personal and political works, and observes that there is a deployment of metonymic logic that undergirds not only the texts, but a variety of other movements across the nineteenth-century cultural, technological, and political landscape. The metonymic logic of storm tropes are, in this sense, not only a productive literary modality in understanding weather representations during the Philippine fin de siècle, but also become illustrative of political and historical developments during the period. Based on this overarching logic, the paper articulates the possibility of understanding global climate and climate change as a series of interconnected and associated postcolonial and ecocritical experiences that are able to figure the world at large through an alternative expansion. This paper also investigates previous critiques that categorize the Rizaliana’s weather as romantic, and interrogates the assumptions that are deployed in such categorizations – and what they might mean for Philippine postcolonial ecocriticism and its climate imaginaries.
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