• 320 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • Price: $35.95
  • EAN: 9781566394185
  • Publication: May 1996

The Philippine Temptation

Dialectics of Philippines-U.S. Literary Relations

E. San Juan Jr.
  • Outstanding Academic Title, Choice, 1996

In this incisive and polemical book, E. San Juan, Jr., the leading authority on Philippines-U.S. literary studies, goes beyond fashionable postcolonial theory to bring to our attention the complex history of Philippines-U.S. literary interactions. In sharp contrast to other works on the subject, the author presents Filipino literary production within the context of a long and sustained tradition of anti-imperialist insurgency, and foregrounds the strong presence of oppositional writing in the Philippines.

After establishing the historical context of U.S. intervention and Filipino resistance, San Juan examines the work of two very significant writers. The first, Carlos Bulosan, a journalist and union activist, became in the author's words a "tribune" of the people. Bulosan's writings which combine critique and prophecy do not allow us to forget the atrocities inflicted on the Filipino people. The other, José Garcia Villa, lapsed into premature obscurity on account of the complexity of his writings about the Filipino predicament. Read through San Juan's eyes, these writers are revealed as multifaceted thinkers and activists, not stereotypical ethnic artists.

San Juan goes beyond literary studies and contemporary debates about nationalism and politics to point the way to a new direction in radical transformative writing. He uncovers hidden agendas in many previous accounts of U.S.-Philippine relations, and this book exemplifies how best to combine activist scholarship with historically grounded cultural commentary.


"...a wealth of well-documented ancillary material. His views are both insightful and uncompromising. Given the scope and depth of his work, it is easy to see why San Juan is considered one of the authoritative voices in Philippine studies."
Multicultural Review

"San Juan is a scholar of remarkable range and varied talents...remarkable for his commitment to literature and culture as vital areas of contemporary social life."
Fredrick Jameson, William Lane Professor of Comparative Literature, Duke University

"San Juan's study is a tour de force of an extraordinary and comprehensive nature. His transdisciplinary approach is on the frontier of a new intellectual discourse, on the cutting edge of Third World scholarship."
Dr. Sam Noumoff, Director, Center for Developing Area Studies, McGill University, Montreal

"E. San Juan, Jr. is undoubtedly the leading authority on Filipino-American literary relations.... (He) deftly contextualizes literary forms and expressions within their historical and social matrix. In the growing field of multi-cultural studies, San Juan's contribution is quite unique—an immensely valuable contribution to U.S.-Filipino cultural history and comparative literature studies."
Bruce Franklin, Dana Professor of English and American Literature, Rutgers University

"San Juan is one of the most authoritative practitioners of Third World culture writing in the United States today. His work charts in detail the vast and difficult terrain he has covered...."
Robert Dombroski, Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature, Graduate Center, City University of New York

"It is exciting to see a work so focused, not on abstract theory for abstract purposes, but on the now.... For readers interested in Filipino writing, The Philippine Temptation is, as San Juan intended, an excellent place to start."

"The Philippine Temptation offers much valuable information and intelligent insights into what some of the forces, tensions and energies were—are—that have influenced the intelligentsia of the Philippines, especially the Filipino writer of English."
The Journal of Asian Studies

About the Author(s)

E. San Juan, Jr. is Fellow of the Center for the Humanities and Visiting Professor of English, Wesleyan University, and Director of the Philippines Cultural Studies Center. He was recently chair of the Department of Comparative American Cultures, Washington University, and Professor of Ethnic Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He received the 1999 Centennial Award for Literature from the Philippines Cultural Center and was named 2012-2013 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellow in the Humanities. His most recent books are Beyond Postcolonial Theory, From Exile to Diaspora, After Postcolonialism, and Racism and Cultural Studies.

In the Series

Asian American History and Culture

Founded by Sucheng Chan in 1991, the Asian American History and Culture series has sponsored innovative scholarship that has redefined, expanded, and advanced the field of Asian American studies while strengthening its links to related areas of scholarly inquiry and engaged critique. Like the field from which it emerged, the series remains rooted in the social sciences and humanities, encompassing multiple regions, formations, communities, and identities. Extending the vision of founding editor Sucheng Chan and emeriti editor Michael Omi, David Palumbo-Liu, K. Scott Wong and Linda Trinh Võ, series editors Cathy Schlund-Vials, Rick Bonus, and Shelley Sang-Hee Lee continue to develop a foundational collection that embodies a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to Asian American studies.