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Noli Me Tangere (The Social Cancer)

José Rizal

Book Overview: 

Noli Me Tangere (Latin for Touch Me Not) is a novel by the National Hero of the Philippines, Dr. José Rizal. It was originally written in Spanish, and first published in Germany. Noli Me Tangere exposed the corruption and abuse of the Spanish government and clergy towards the Philippine people and the ills of the Philippine society. This novel, and its sequel El Filibusterismo were banned in many parts of the Islands. Rizal was later arrested for inciting rebellion, based largely on his writings, and was executed in Manila. Noli Me Tangere, and the execution of Rizal, indirectly influenced the Philippine revolution from Spain. Today, Noli Me Tangere is required reading in all Philippine Schools.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .night when you saw me weeping alone by the side of my dead mother and, drawing [54]near to me, you put your hand on my shoulder, that hand which for so long a time you had not allowed me to touch, saying to me, ‘You have lost your mother while I never had one,’ and you wept with me? You loved her and she looked upon you as a daughter. Outside it rained and the lightning flashed, but within I seemed to hear music and to see a smile on the pallid face of the dead. Oh, that my parents were alive and might behold you now! I then caught your hand along with the hand of my mother and swore to love you and to make you happy, whatever fortune Heaven might have in store for me; and that oath, which has never weighed upon me as a burden, I now renew!

“Could I forget you? The thought of you has ever been with me, strengthening me amid the dangers of travel, and has been a comfort to my soul’s loneliness in foreign lands. The thoughts of you have neutraliz. . . Read More

Community Reviews

My third time to read this most important novel ever in the Philippines. The first two, I read in Tagalog (in high school as a requirement and two years ago as a group read in a book club). This time, I read the English version. This particular translation is said to be the best because this was...more

When I picked up a novel with a stunning title like Noli Me Tangere (Touch me Not), I expected to encounter a work dredged in corporeal, visceral experience and language. I wanted a novel centered on the function of touch: human interaction, physicality, phenomenology, flesh. I didn’t get this in...more

At age thirty-five, José Rizal was sentenced to death by a firing squad because of what he wrote. Even at death he was a rebel, refusing a blindfold and requesting to face his executors. After over three centuries of colonial resentment, the Philippine Revolution had begun. The title of this nove...more

from The Book Hooligan

"I die without seeing the dawn brighten over my native land! You, who have it to see, welcome it — and forget not those who have fallen during the night!" - Elias

I know of two anecdotes regarding Rizal's poem, Mi Ultimo Adios. The first anecdote is about how US Congressman H...more

This book is the most important literary work in the Philippines. One hundred twenty-six (126) after it was written, its message is still relevant to us Filipinos. I have also read a lot of other books written by local authors and, for me, the quality of Rizal’s writing is still unsurpassed.

"Noli...more

Noli Me Tangere is described on the back cover as ‘The novel that sparked the Philippine revolution’. Which sounds a bit hyperbolic, but apparently the publication of the novel in 1887 was an important moment; even more so, Rizal’s subsequent execution for rebellion, sedition and conspiracy.

So it...more

"If you were given the chance, how would you improve Rizal's Noli?"

My classmate raised that question in one of my reports in Life and Works of Rizal.

"I won't," I said.
"Why?" our professor, who was seated at the back, asked me.

"Who am I to judge a masterpiece?"

---

But here I am writing a review of...more

The pen is mightier than the sword, they say, and it is not often that one has the opportunity to read a novel that has forged an independence movement. Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) (1887) by José Rizal is such a book, for although its author advocated reform not independence, the novel was so...more

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