Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Maltese Literature in English: Prose

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit focuses on the Maltese writers’ expression of identity in Maltese fiction in English. The introductory lectures will present a historical survey of the Maltese writers’ notions of nationality, ethnicity, colonial resistance, and identity; their expression in the Italian, Maltese, and English languages, and the effect of bilingualism and trilingualism on creativity. This will be followed by an in-depth study of a choice of novels or short story collections by these authors: Francis Ebejer, Vincent Vella, Lou Drofenik, Petra Bianchi, Lillian Sciberras.

Study-Unit Aims:

This study-unit aims to acquaint students with the response in fiction to the political, aesthetic, cultural and socio-economic conditions in post-colonial Malta, within the context of Anglophone writing and the politics of language as a salient marker of the development of communal, national and religious identifications. It also aims to offer a culturally-oriented perspective of an inter-disciplinary nature, drawing on political historiography, literary scholarship, post-colonial theory, the politics of language and translation dynamics.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Define the salient issues and questions pertaining to the post-independnece trajectory of Malta's anglophone writing.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the major thematics that characterised and still characterise Malta's anglophone writing from the 1960s to the present.
- Display a mastery of the salient influences and issues, as well as the cultural, literary and language-political choices, aspirations and stances that characterised and continue to characterise the period.
- Demonstrate a proficient grasp of the post-independence problematics and challenges faced by writers.
- Demonstrate a comparative ability in relating the style, aesthetics and political stance of the writers within the broader context of the time.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Discuss the context of the events, colonial, national and communal relations that shaped and continue to shape Maltese fiction in English from the1960s to date.
- Formulate informed opinions on Malta's evolving bilingual creative-writing context and project possible future scenarios on an informed knowledge of current trends and preoccupations in the field.
- Associate, relate and contextualise Malta's post-independence prose within and as part of the broader, trans-regional geopolitical urgencies affecting both the Mediterranean basin and the European continent.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Maltese Prose in English: Francis Ebejer, Vincent Vella, Lou Drofenik, Petra Bianchi, Lillian Sciberras.
- Godfrey Baldacchino, “A Nationless State? Malta, National identity and the EU” in West European Politics, vol.25 no.4(2006) 191-206.
- Ivan Callus, “Maltese literature in theh language of the other: a case study in minority literatures’ pursuit of majority,” in Acta Scientaiarum Language and Culture, vol.31 no.1 (2009) 31-40.
- Isabelle de Coutrivon (ed.), Lives in Translation: Bilingual Writers on Identity and Creativity (Palgrave Macmillan: 2003).
- Jacques Derrida, Monolingualism of the Other: or, The Prosthesis of Origin (Stanford University Press: 1998).
- Henry Frendo & Oliver Friggieri (ed.) Malta: Culture and Identity (Ministry of Youth and Culture: 1994).
- Geoffrey Hull, The Malta Language Question: a Case Study in Cultural Imperialism (Said International Ltd: 1993).
- Victor Mallia-Milanes, The British Colonial Experience 1800-1964 (Malta, Mireva Academic Publications, 1988).
- Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (James Currey Ltd / Heinemann: 2008).


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Stella Borg Barthet

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