E. San Juan’s Creative Oppositional Criticism

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper traces San Juan’s keynote lecture, “Nick Joaquin’s Apocalypse: Women and the Tragi-comedy of the ‘Unhappy Consciousness,’” from his two earlier works: “Dialectics of Transcendence” (1984, written in 1967) and Subversions of Desire (1988). In doing so, the paper highlights San Juan’s reading of Joaquin that follows a dialectic of the critic’s own theoretical and intellectual development. It also explains Hegel’s historical dialectics and notion of the “Unhappy Consciousness” and how these are applied in San Juan’s re/interpretation of Joaquin. This paper highlights what criticism has learned from Hegel: difference and opposition are fundamentally productive. Indeed, in San Juan, in Joaquinian scholarship, and in Philippine literary criticism at large, dialectics is truly at work.