Bedeviling Quijano De Manila’s Discourses of the Devil’s Advocate

Ivan Emil Labayne


Using a Marxist framework, this paper looks at Nick Joaquin’s conduct of history writing and uses this analysis to comment on the general practice of writing on history. The paper first assesses the extent by which a strand of dialectical thought operates in Discourses. Second, typical assertions of history as “narrativized” discourse are put into test. The ideas of Linda Hutcheon and Edel Garcellano are utilized to bring in the larger sociality where textual discourses take place, thereby shunning the supposed primacy of texts and positing the dynamic ties between history writing and society. Third, the relationship between oral and written discourses and how these types of sources figured in the book are examined. Following this, the potentials of oral sources for alternative practices of history writing and interpretation—more dispersed, refusing the singularity of the “official”—are hailed. Toward the end, a call for reflexivity is reaffirmed. This is done to counter both the pretentiously grand claims of History and the flirtations with liberal tendencies of history writing that opens itself to multiple sources. What is espoused is history writing that is open precisely because of its awareness of its location in the complexity of the societal whole.


dialectical materialism; history writing; linguistic turn; Marxism; reflexivity

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