Believing deeply in the power of literature to help a people understand their history, Linda Ty-Casper said in 1993, “If a country’s history is its biography, its literature is its autobiography.” One of the country’s foremost historical novelists, Ty-Casper attributes her writing to her maternal grandmother, who filled her growing years with stories of the Philippine revolution and the country’s struggle for independence. The passion to remember and to re-tell these stories of the country’s past has since fueled a long and distinguished writing career.
Of Ty-Casper’s first novel, literary historian Edna Zapanta Manlapaz writes, “The publication of the The Peninsulars in 1964 was a landmark, staking literature’s claim to an interpretation of history. That it was a woman, Ty-Casper, who pushed that stake into the ground is of significance, if only because she had dared venture into the traditional masculine turf of historical fiction.” Since then, Ty-Casper has written twelve novels, covering different periods in Philippine history (the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the Philippine-American War, the period before, during, and after Marcos’ martial law regime, and the People Power Revolution of 1986.) She has also published three collections of short stories.
Ty-Casper wrote and revised her own work with a rigor consistent with her attentiveness to historical detail. Her novel Dream Eden was written over a span of eight years, from 1987 to 1995, during which she produced four versions. Pages from Dream Eden’s typescripts still do not escape meticulous revision, as can be seen by the many penciled corrections and notes in Ty-Casper’s tiny, spidery handwriting
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