Many months later, I’ve finally finished reading José Rizal’s, Noli Me Tangere. I don’t recommend it. Aside from the setting, it feels derivative of writers like Dumas and Hugo.
It’s place in the literary canon, enshrined in the Penguin Classics, is similar, it seems to me, to that of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. They are books that are politically important, but not only secondarily artistically interesting, if at all.
Harold Augenbraum’s introduction in this edition is interesting and useful, but the notes are idiosyncratic, one example suffices. Rizal’s biblical quotations from the title on are offered in Latin. Augenbraum has used the King James Version to provide translations rather than the Douay or another Latin-based edition.
I wrote a previous post about anti-clericalism in the novel, which can be found here.