Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: A long fermentation : lords, vassals and intermediaries
Other Titles: Malta's quest for independence : reflections on the course of Maltese history
Authors: Frendo, Henry
Keywords: Malta -- History -- 1964-
Malta -- History -- British occupation, 1800-1964
Issue Date: 1989
Publisher: Valletta Publishing & Promotion Co. Ltd.
Citation: Frendo, H. (1989). A long fermentation : lords, vassals and intermediaries. In H. Frendo (Ed.), Malta's quest for independence : reflections on the course of Maltese history (pp. 20-37). VaIletta: Valletta Publishing.
Abstract: In our mental agenda for this work, set out in the previous pages, we asked what the relationship of history to politics was and what the history of freedom in Malta was. Let us begin with the former, which may be easier to size up. One can probably distinguish, if not too precisely, between what for our purposes we shall describe as a Nineteenth Century image, and a more recent Twentieth Century image of Maltese history. Both these pictures of the past are influenced by politics (that is by the condition of power, powerlessness or power-seeking, policy making and decisiontaking with regard to the sharing of such resources as existed). At the risk of much generalisation, one is tempted to take this distinction further still and to postulate that whereas in the first variant of popular historiography, Maltese leaders were concerned with portraying themselves mainly to others, in the second one, they were more concerned with impressing their own kind. The change in packaging is largely the consequence of markedly different political conditions. Whereas in the earlier phase, Malta was a foreign possession struggling in the face of insuperable odds to win for herself a measure of respect and credibility as the territory of a people with historical characteristics that could lead the owner to grant some measure of internal freedom, in the second phase this hurdle had in principle been slowly overcome, the franchise was greatly and eventually completely extended, and indeed independence from the occupier ceased to be an overriding preoccupation. Instead, it was the people themselves, i.e. the electorate who were in principle the sovereign, who became the consumers of popular historiography. The all-important difference here was that whereas previously there was an 'us' and 'them' that was fairly (although never all too easily) identified, subsequently, and increasingly, it was 'us' to 'ourslves' and, one might add, on our own as well. If earlier there were two presences that needed to be convinced - the foreign, generally itself in harness, and the local, generally caught in unfulfilled aspirations now there was increasingly only one audience, the local one. Although resident ambassadors of other countries sent home their assessment reports of what these Maltese were up to, it was basically they (Maltese) who said what they liked about others and, indeed, about themselves as well.
Appears in Collections:Malta's quest for independence : reflections on the course of Maltese history
Scholarly Works - InsMS

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
A_long_fermentation_lords,_vassals_and_intermediaries_1989.pdf918.49 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in OAR@UM are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.