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Title: Aspects of rural life in mid-eighteenth century Malta : a glance at peasant mentality in the light of the inquisition proceedings of Mgr G. Salviati (1754-1759)
Authors: Cauchi, Bernard J. (1998)
Keywords: Country life -- Malta -- History -- 18th century
Malta -- Social life and customs -- 18th century
Inquisition -- Malta -- History -- 18th century
Issue Date: 1998
Citation: Cauchi, B.J. (1998). Aspects of rural life in mid-eighteenth century Malta: a glance at peasant mentality in the light of the inquisition proceedings of Mgr G. Salviati (1754-1759) (Bachelor's dissertation).
Abstract: This dissertation attempts, the reconstruction of Maltese peasant mentality. Montaillou, the monograph by E. Le Roy Ladurie, catalysed my interest in looking more closely at peasant societies. Montaillou, based on a 13th century Inquisition document, represented a break from traditional history, a delve into microhistory, whereby we come to know intimately the characters of for example, the Clergue family, or Pierre Maury, the shepherd. Through these writings, one can 'listen' to the experience of peasants who lived seven centuries ago. Such an approach, also coupled with my interest oflooking at history 'from below', reviewing the points of view of the masses rather than from the rulers' perspective. Thus, I aspired an attempt to a Maltese version of Montaillou, based on available Inquisition records. The ideal source for such an endeavour was the Inquisition archives which present direct testimonials of peasant life. So, we can relive the experiences of Filippo 'il-Kurmi', Anna Tonna, and Salvatore Sultana. The study of village communities is also linked with another interest of mine: literature. The concept of 'village' has been widely investigated in foreign as well as in local literature. Writers such as Carlo Levi and Jill Paton Walsh have illustrated some features which accompany the village - a tightly knit community with its social standards inbuilt in the customs of an insular mentality, with morality towering over everyday preoccupations. On the Maltese scene, authors also present us with a village in a local context where we find the struggle and distress of the 'lonely' person who tries to free himself from the unwritten strict norms of an insular village. On the other hand, we find a paradigm presented by Dun Karm, a poet laurate, who in his writings, gives an idealised picture of villagers as being content in their simplicity, away from life in towns. Thus, we encounter, to a certain extent, a stereotyped (at the two extremes) portrait of a typical villager. Does this match eighteenth century reality?
Description: B.A.(HONS)HISTORY
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 1998
Dissertations - FacArtHis - 1967-2010

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