Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Blumentritt-Schuchardt Correspondence

I have always pointed out to colleagues who are somehow into Germanistik (German Studies), Philology and Philippine Studies the incredible amount of datas, studies, and possibilities that scholars could learn just researching on both the writings of Ferdinand Blumentritt and Rizal. University of Graz (Austria), few years ago opened their "Sammlung" or collection of the Blumentritt-Schuchardt Correspondence. Reading it, I was led to consider new territories understand the beginnings and the minds within the Rizal and Blumentritt freindship.

The letter posted here, was written by Blumentritt to the eminent German linguist Hugo Schuchardt (1842 – 1927). Their correspondence, that lasted for almost 30 years would often talk about Rizal, the Philippine languages and the situation in the country that time. Very interesting to point out also that this letter of Blumentritt to Schuchardt dated 2. January 1882 mentions a Filipino who Blumentritt contacted in Paris and who recently wrote him a letter. It turns out that Schuchardt that time was studying the "creole" languages, particularly that of the former Spanish colony in the Americas- Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Blumentritt who was somehow helping Shuchartdt with his study was led to the Embassy of Santo Domingo in Paris. He communicated with the secretary of the ambassador whom he thought to be from Santo Domingo, to his surprise the man is a Filipino,who wrote him this letter stating: "“Yo soy Filipino: he nacido en Manila y por eso me ofrecen tanto interés las obras que se ocupan de mi tan hermoso como desgraciado pais." That Filipino was Dr. Trinidad Pardo de H. Tavera, (who was also a scholar of Philippine languages and ethnography etc.).

Going through the Blumentritt-Schuchardt Correspondence opened up many horizons...incredibly many! One is how Blumentritt introduced Rizal and other Filipino ilustrados that time to the European intelligentsia, those were big personalities. Another field is the study of Philippine languages itself with both even discussing "chavacano" etc. I keep on saying, "there is a world out there."

The letter of Blumentritt to Schuchardt metioning Rizal (University of Graz)

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