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Foreign Forms: Modernism and Anglophone Philippine Literature

Abella, Dan Donovan. Foreign Forms: Modernism and Anglophone Philippine Literature. 2022. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.

Following modernist studies broad aims to respond to the methodological and epistemological challenges of globalization, including reconceptualizing transnational and plural modernisms, critiquing the limitations of world literature, and redefining its most basic critical
vocabulary, this dissertation argues that the corpus of early Anglophone Philippine literature provides both a rich supplement to the expanding canon of global modernism and a persistent challenge to the disciplines assumptions about the influence and diffusion of modernist forms from so-called centers in Europe and the United States. Drawing from contemporary formalist and narrative theory, postcolonial studies, and scholarship on the nation-state, this dissertation reads between the overdetermined canon of Anglo-European modernism and an under-examined Anglophone Philippine literature to intervene in the ongoing evaluation of modernism as a meaningful category of transnational and comparative literary studies. Motivating each primary reading is an inquiry regarding the value and limitations of historicizing literatures relationship with their imperial and colonial contextsboth the violence they commit and the generative possibilities they enable.

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