Eras in Literature (21st Century Literature)

Ways to identify what era a literary piece is from

  • linguistics - use of language

  • geography - cues that might tell when and where the setting is, like living conditions

  • ethnic culture/tradition/colors - the cultures and traditions of the place

Eras in Literature (A Timeline)

  1. Pre-Colonial Literature

  • verses are circulated orally and use the local language

  • common subjects are food gathering, nature, work at home and in the field, caring for children

  • no one person owns the poems and verses - the ownership is communal

  • the purpose of literature was to entertain and to pass the time

2. Spanish Colonial Era (1565-1863)

  • printing exists but newspapers and books being published are controlled by the Spaniards

  • they use Spanish language because they really do be like that

  • literature is in the form of verse, drama, and manuals subjects are religious (pasyon, senakulo) and secular (komedya, awit, korido, short farce)

  • other subjects are religion, language, arithmetic, praising Spain's brave soldiers ba to ambot because I wrote egotistic Spanish bs

  • Francisco Baltazar emerged, the balagtasan guy

  • Francisco Blancas de San Jose wrote the first Tagalog literature about meeting new colonial culture (guy is a priest)

  • Fray Juan de Plasencia - wrote Doctrina Christiana, the first book, in 1593

3. Nationalistic/Propaganda and Revolution Era (1565-1863)

  • the whole idea was to revolt and awaken patriotism in Filipinos

  • they switched languages from Spanish to local languages

  • wrote verses, dramas, manuals, novels, and used political essays to revolt

  • of course, the subjects are nationalism, revolution, to expose brutalities and maltreatment

  • Pedro Paterno wrote the first Filipino novel, Ninay

  • Jose Rizal wrote Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo 

  • Marcelo del Pilar wrote in La Solidaridad

  • Emilio Jacinto, wrote Liwanag at Dilim (essay) and To the Fatherland (a poem)

  • Andres Bonifacio wrote the Katipunan Manifesto

  • circulation was made through publications like La Solidaridad, Diario de Manila, and La Independencia


Pedro Paterno, Jose Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, Emilio Jacinto, Andres Bonifacio respectively

4. American Colonial Period (1910-1945)

  • a new genre (?) emerged, the short story

  • there was also poetry (narrative poems), novels, drama, and they brought in the fictional genre

  • during the Period of Apprenticeship (1910-1930), noob pa slight ang Filipinos in using English to write

  • during the Period of Emergence (1920-1930), we started knowing how to use English in writing

  • common subjects during this era are patriotism, realism, romanticism, and fiction

  • Filipinos of course did not like being colonized so the purpose of literature was to entertain, evoke nationalism, and resist colonial rule

  • writers are Rodolfo Dato - wrote Sampaguita, the 1st anthology of poems in English

  • Paz Benitez (A WOMAN), wrote Dead Stars, the first modern short story, in 1925

  • Zoilo Galang wrote A Child of Sprrow, the first Filipino novel in English


Zoilo Galang and Paz Benitez

5. Japanese Colonial Era (1942-1960) information suppression

  • The Japanese encouraged us to use our own language and this era was when Filipino writers matured in writing short stories

  • Other forms of literature were verse, drama, poetry (haiku and tanaga). 

  • Common subjects were romanticism, nationalism, and nature.

  • Only Liwayway Magazine was allowed to publish though it was controlled by the Japanese.

  • Writers were Narciso Reyes (Lupang Tinubuan)

  • Liwayway Arceo (Uhaw ang Tigang na Lupa)

  • N.V.M. Gonzales (Nayon and Dagat-dagatan)

  • Macario Pineda (Suyuan sa Tubigan) Francisco Rodrigo (Sa Pula Sa Puti)

  • The Japanese taught us to love our own language, made an award called "Ang Pinakamabuting Maikling Kathang Pilipino", sponsored by the Japanese, and the Palanca Awards named after Carlos Palanca, a businessman and philanthropist.


Narciso Reyes, Liwayway Arceo, N.VM. Gonzales, Macario Pineda, Francisco Rodrigo respectively

6. Contemporary Period (1946-1999) Post War

  • We used Filipino, local languages, and English in literature. 

  • This period was when magical realism, historical fiction, and narrative poems emerged.

  • Other forms of literature were short stories (we really do love these), novels, essays, poems, and drama.

  • Filipinos wrote about Japanese brutalities, family, political, and economic issues, social confusion, poverty, religion, superstition, and fantasy.

  • The Marcos regime was also in this period, which is why writers wrote about the problems that arose in society during this period.

  • Writers were Nick Joaquin (Mayday Eve) 

  • F. Sionil Jose (Waywaya)

  • Alejandro Roces (We Filipinos are Mild Drinkers)

  • Edith Tiempo (The Return)

  • Fr. Horacio de la Costa (History and Philippine Culture)

  • In 1972, the National Artist award started existing.


Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, Alejandro Roces, Edith Tiempo, Fr. Horacio de la Costa respectively


7. 21st Century 

  • We use local languages, English, and Filipino in writing (evident in Wattpad and other epub platforms). 

  • All kinds of people have the opportunity to write and share their works online so forms of literature are poems, essays, short stories, novels, and others. 

  • Creative nonfiction, speculative, messaging, blogs, digital fiction, comics (graphic novels), spoken poetry (isa, dalawa, tatlo) emerged. We write all sorts of stuff now like technology, culture, travel, food, how-tos, and futuristic topics.

  • Some authors (there are many, I'm sure) are

  • Russell Molina (66)

  • Abdon M. Balde Jr. (100 Kislap)

  • Andrew Drilon (The Secret Origin of Spin-Man)

  • Mina Esguerra (Spotlight New Adult)

  • Frank Rivera (Bayang Mahilig sa Ganda)

  • Jessica Zafra (Manananggal Terrorizes Manila)


left to right: Russell Molina, Abdon Balde Jr., Andrew Drilon

Mina Esguerra, Frank Rivera, Jessica Zafra

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