Florante and Laura ... Translated into English from the Spanish version of Epifanio de los Santos by George St. Clair Carefully compared to the Tagalog original by Fernando Villarosa

By: Balagtas, Francisco ; [Translator's own working copy]

Price: $199.94

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Good


61 & [1, ads] pages; Publisher's blue wrappers -- (the front wrapper is now missing); bound with three metal staples. Somewhat worn, title page dusty, rear wrapper and spine now have some chips missing. The author's copy of the first edition of his translation into English of key work of the literature of the Philippines written in Tagalog. George St. Clair (identified on the title page as "Professor of English - University of the Philippines") had inscribed this copy in the top margin of the title page: "My own copy / St. C." -- and then crossed this out, and heavily marked and revised this copy as the setting copy for a second edition. [That second edition was published in 1927 under the title "Florante and Laura, a narrative poem. (Manila, Philippine Education Co., 1927) 58 pp.-- noted on that title page as "2nd rev. ed."] The original author was born as Francisco Balagtas in Panginay, Bigaa, Bulacan on April 2, 1788, the son of a blacksmith. In 1799, he went to Tondo, Manila to work as a houseboy for his aunt, Doña Trinidad. She was impressed by his literary talent and sent him to school. Balagtas moved to Pandacan, Manila in 1835 where he met Maria Asuncion Rivera, who would become his muse. Alas, he had a powerful rival for her affections, one Mariano Capule, the town cacique, who used his wealth and power to send Balagtas to jail on a trumped-up criminal complaint. While the poet was incarcerated, Maria married his rival, but Balagtas evidently used his time behind bars to write his major work, "Florante at Laura." [The Tagalog title is expansive: "Pinagdaanang Buhay ni Florante at ni Laura sa Cahariang Albania – Quinuha sa Madlang Cuadro Historico o Pinturang Nagsasabi nang manga Nangyari nang unang Panahon sa Imperio nang Grecia – at Tinula nang isang Matouian sa Versong Tagalog (in English: The Life Story of Florante and Laura in the Kingdom of Albania: Culled from historical accounts and paintings which describe what happened in ancient Greece, and written by one who enjoys Tagalog verse). Soon after leaving prison in 1838, Balagtas moved to Bataan and met Juana Tiambeng, a native of Orion, Bataan. They married in 1842 and had eleven children. It is reported by some sources that his future wife paid for the publication of "Florante at Laura" at the Colegio de Santo Tomas press. At the time, publishing a work in Tagalog was both novel and courageous, as Spanish was considered the proper medium for literary expression. Balagtas's great metrical romance was written as an "awit " -- with four line quatrains, twelve syllables to the line, a rhyme scheme depending on assonance, and a cesura following the sixth syllable in each line. Usually, each quatrain formed a gramatically complete sentence, and also contained at least one figure of speech. George St. Clair, translator and owner of this copy, had only a modest knowledge of Tagalog, but worked from a Spanish version, and had the benefit of the fluency in Tagalog of one of his University students, Fernando Villarosa -- credited on the title page and in the Preface. St. Clair's version has quatrains with eight-syllable lines, and uses a typical English rhyming scheme: ABAB. George St. Clair spent his working life in the Philippines, serving as Principal of Manila's Tondo Intermediate school, and then as Professor of English at the University of the Philippines -- (from 1914-1920, according to the notes he wrote in this copy). Balagtas, the author was forced to adopt a Spanish surname when Governor-General Narciso Claveria ordered every Filipino to adopt Hispanic and native names from a master list. His descendants use the family name he picked off the list -- "Baltazar." Another criminal charge and jail term helped run through his wife's fortune, and after 1860, our author, now Francisco Baltazar y dela Cruz, was forced to live supported by his literary efforts -- (his works form a considerable list, in both Tagalog and Spanish). On his deathbed, he is said to have advised his children not to follow in his footsteps as poets, because he had suffered greatly due to his literary gift. He said it would be better to cut off their hands than to let any of them become writers. The plot of "Florante at Laura" is complicated with a large cast of characters. The Albanian setting is widely held to be an allegory of difficulties between the FIlippinos and Spanish, much closer to home... (A detailed summary, chapter by chapter, is available on Wikipilipinas). George St. Clair has made changes and corrections to nearly every page of this copy, for his prospective second edition. The first line has a word changed in ink - almost all other changes, some quite substantial, are written in pencil. He also instructed that the leaf with advertisements for three of his previous publications (two were plays with Philippine settings) be omitted, and that the blank leaf following this leaf of ads was "Unnecessary -- this page / Cut out." A few changes have to do with spacing of the lines and between stanzas, but several are more signifiant, including several lines, and one whole stanza, re-written. This first version of "Florante at Laura" in English is now a rare book, both in this undated (but 1920) edition printed at Manila's "Times" Press, and the 1927 second edition -- [For this 1920 first edition -- see OCLC Number: 15721168 -- six locations: Duke; University of Northern Iowa; Univ. of Utah; Claremont Colleges; Univ. of Washington; Australian National Library]. The second edition, for which our copy was corrected by the author as a setting copy, appeared in 1927 from Manila, Philippine Education Co. -- 58 pp. [see OCLC Numbers: 22574165 & 248085406 -- five locations in total. One institution: National Library of Australia -- has both our 1920 first edition, and the 1927 second edition]. An extremely interesting copy of the first English translation of the major work of Philippine literature in Tagalog.

Title: Florante and Laura ... Translated into English from the Spanish version of Epifanio de los Santos by George St. Clair Carefully compared to the Tagalog original by Fernando Villarosa

Author Name: Balagtas, Francisco ; [Translator's own working copy]

Categories: Literature, Oriental Studies, Literature in Translation,

Edition: First English Edition; First Printing

Publisher: Manila, The Times Press: [1920]

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition: Good

Size: 8vo

Seller ID: 41608

Keywords: Francisco Baltazar y dela Cruz Tagalog literature awit Philippine literature Fernando Villarosa Filipino Literature