Jose Rizal pp 37-54 | Cite as

Noli me Tangere and the Failure of Transplanted Liberalism

  • Lisandro E. Claudio
Part of the Global Political Thinkers book series (GPT)


This chapter is an introduction to and a liberal interpretation of Rizal’s first novel, Noli Me Tangere. It provides an overview of Rizal as a novelist, explains Rizal’s notion of audience, and moves to a discussion of the Noli’s themes. In the novel, Rizal uses the skills of a journalist to reproduce nineteenth-century Philippine society with fidelity. He then uses this setting to test the viability of liberal reformism in the country. The novel’s main character, the creole/mestizo Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, tries to build a progressive school in the European mold. For his efforts, the friars brand him a subversive and frame him for inciting rebellion. Ibarra’s failure stems not only from his naiveté but also from his misunderstanding of how liberalism should be cultivated in the colony.


Noli me Tangere Liberalism Rizal Nationalism Novel 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisandro E. Claudio
    • 1
  1. 1.De La Salle UniversityManilaPhilippines

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