“Wedded in the Association”: Heteroglossic Form and Fragmentary Historiography in Nick Joaquin’s Almanac for Manileños
Almanac for Manileños (1979) by Nick Joaquin (1917-2004) is “a calendar, a weather chart, a sanctoral, a zodiac guide, and a mini encyclopedia on the world of the Manileño.” Undergirded by Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of heteroglossia, Walter Benjamin’s montage method in writing history, and Reynaldo Ileto’s notion of non-linear emplotment, the essay engages with the Almanac’s calendars and essays and offers four claims. Firstly, although multiple genres embedded in the Almanac—which include, apart from the abovementioned, horoscopes, recipes and light verse— stratify the text, temporal associativeness offers a sense of cohesion. Secondly, the formal strategy of the calendars— typified by correspondence and compression of the categories of nation and religion—allows for both past and future temporal orientations. Thirdly, Joaquin’s fragmentary historiography results in temporal discontinuity as well as conjunction and resemblance: dualities in the essays—the aesthetics and politics of disjuncture and coherence— offer the possibility of recognition and actualization. Finally, the Almanac—which takes its cue from modernist techniques—interrogates linear and developmentalist ways in which Philippine history is depicted and the nation is represented.