Baroque Modernity and the Colonial World: Aesthetics and Catastrophe in Nick Joaquin’s "A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino"

John D. Blanco

Abstract

The point of departure for these reflections is the status of “Hispanism” as an aesthetic mode (and possibly an elitist position or ideology in Philippine society) in a largely ignored debate within Philippine nationalist circles after World War II. In this instance, Dr. Blanco is thinking of the polemic between nationalist historian and poet Teodoro Agoncillo and Filipino national artist Nick Joaquin following the inauguration of a Philippine national republic formally recognized by the League of Nations. In this paper, he wants to focus on one, perhaps the key, manifestation of this “Hispanism” – Joaquin’s recovery of the baroque mode of representation, as a way of returning to the baroque aesthetic of catastrophe in various colonial works (particularly the Pasyon and the Balagtasan awit). By examining the scenography of Joaquin’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino, he will turn to various aspects of Western baroque representation highlighted by Max Weber, Walter Benjamin, and Jose Antonio Maravall in order to highlight the relationship between colonial sovereignty and the onset of colonial modernity as the “disenchantment of the world.”

Keywords

baroque, colonial modernity, Hispanism, Nick Joaquin, Teodoro Agoncillio

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/1558