Sunday, September 14, 2008
Written in Tagalog by a priest famous for his powerful sermons, Urbana at Felisa is an example of the book of conduct that emerged in Europe during the Renaissance. Its author used the epistolary style wherein a series of thirty-four letters, members of a family in Paombong, Bulacan gave each other advice on the ideal conduct and behavior expected of a middle-class and Christian family. Thus in her letters to her younger siblings Felisa and Honesto, who remained in Paombong, Urbana, who left for Manila to study, wrote not only of the need to follow the values and norms found in Christian teaching, but as importantly, to observe the proper mode of conduct as one dealt with people in society. The series of correspondences, including a letter from a priest on the duties and responsibilities of married life, touched on various facets of experience that a person underwent from birth to death both in the secular and spiritual realms. In retrospect, Urbana at Felisa should be perceived as a text not only meant to regulate conduct and behavior, but as a discourse to contain the moral excesses of the period and affirm basic Christian tenets.
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