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Book in French published by MUP

La vie intellectuelle et culturelle des chevaliers français à malte au xviiie siècle La vie intellectuelle et culturelle des chevaliers français à Malte au XVIIIe siècle
Carmen Depasquale
ISBN: 978-99909-45-60-7
Paperback. 554 pp.  35 euro.
Malta University Press 2010

LA  VIE  INTELLECTUELLE  ET  CULTURELLE DES  CHEVALIERS  FRANÇAIS À MALTE AU XVIIIe SIÈCLE is the first book in French published by the Malta University Press. Drawing on research based on official documents of the Order, wills made by Knights, diaries, manuscripts and printed works, correspondence and other works found mainly in the National Library of Malta as well as in various Parisian institutions, Carmen Depasquale unveils an aspect of the French enlightenment present in Malta. 

The first part of the book deals with the spiritual, intellectual and cultural life of the Knights: the way they went about their duties, what they read, their attendance at the theatre and at other performances, and their contribution towards the organisation and government of the Order through their writings. French influence in Malta and the influence of the outside world on Malta are also examined. 

The second part introduces a few Knights, authors of longer works: travelogues, correspondence, prose and poetry, drama, a diary, a tourist guide of Malta, works of great diversity and which, generally, bear witness to a wealth of artistic and literary culture. Among these authors there is a caravaniste, a mineralogist, an adventurer, an ambassador of the King of France, a future ambassador of the Order in Paris mentioned by Voltaire in his correspondence, and an admirer of his to whom he pays a visit at Ferney. This study is above all a witness to the fact that Malta did not lag behind the rest of Europe in any field, be it scientific, artistic, literary or political. In the words of eminent historian and specialist of the Order of Saint John in the eighteenth century, Sorbonne Professor Alain Blondy: "Henceforth, no historian of Malta or of  the Order  in the 18th century can afford to ignore  this book."  The book partly sponsored by the Groupe d’Études et de Recherches pour le Français Langue Internationale (GERFLINT) has a Preface by Professor François Moureau of Sorbonne University.

26 Jan 2011

Latest Publication


This book by Sergio Portelli deals with the development of the Italian-language periodical press in Malta from the end of the 18th century to the mid-20th century. This time-frame covers the period from the publication of the Journal de Malte by the French administration in Napoleonic times to the last cultural periodical compiled by Vincenzo Maria Pellegrini in 1954.

Italian was the official language of the Maltese islands from the 16th century up to the eve of the Second World War. It was used in public administration, in the law courts, in schools, in literature and even in private correspondence. It was therefore only natural that the first local newspapers and periodicals were compiled in the Italian language. Barring few exceptions of periodicals published in Maltese or English, the local press remained distinctively Italian in language for various decades.

La stampa periodica in italiano a Malta, which has an introduction by Henry Frendo, sells for 25 euro and is available from leading bookshops or from here.

07 Dec 2010

Major Work on Europe

The Malta University Press has just published a pace-setting two volume work on 'The European Mind: Narrative and Identity'. Introduced and edited by Professor Henry Frendo, the set includes contributions by 200 scholars from 69 universities in 31 countries. The most extensive such oeuvre ever published by MUP to date, volume 1, which is divided into three parts (726 pages), treats topics in the fields of history, geography and science; economics, politics and law; education, sociology and women’s studies. Volume 2, divided into two parts (844 pages), looks at aspects of painting, sculpture, theatre, music, culture and literature; language, philosophy, psychology and religion.

Chapters on Malta

The tenth world congress of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas, of which these are the selected and edited proceedings, was inaugurated at the University of Malta by its rector, Professor Juanito Camilleri, in July 2006 and attended by over 400 academics from 42 countries. It was convened and chaired on behalf of ISSEI by Professor Frendo who has been active in the Society since 1989 and was its congress keynote speaker at the University of Navarra on co-existence and modernity in 2004, and again at the University of Helsinki on language and the scientific imagination in 2008. Professor Frendo is also a co-author of volume 1 with his chapter on the Malta language question, seen as a prelude to worsening Anglo-Italian relations on the eve of the Abyssinia war in the mid-1930s.

Three other entries deal specifically with aspects of Malta and the Maltese. These are ‘Language, Culture and Nation in Malta: Some Preliminary Remarks’ by  Professor Alexander Borg from the Department of Hebrew Language at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, in the section ‘Empire and Nation in the Mediterranean’ (also in vol. 1); ‘Urbanisation and Rural Attitudes in Maltese Novels’ by Associate Professor Charles Briffa, a literary critic and lecturer at the University of Malta, in the section on ‘Experiencing the Urban: The Representation of the City in Literature; while in the section on ‘Language in a Changing World’, Amalia Plaskasoviti, a PhD student in the Department of German Language at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece, writes about language and identity in a migrant context: ‘Attitudes of Members of the Maltese Community of Corfu to their Ethnic Language and Heritage’ (both in vol. 2).     

The Making of Europeanity

In his general introduction to this inter-disciplinary opus ranging from archaeology to philosophy, history to governance, the arts to the sciences, Professor Frendo asks: 'Can we speak of a European mind? If there is one, how far is it identifiable or quantifiable? Which are the sinews in its thread?' He suggests that above all, perhaps, Europeanity 'evokes and portrays the spirit of free enquiry, the cutting edges of engagement, dialogue and discourse, the shared heritage of which has most singularly shaped a European mind and identity in its multiple and changing forms, genres and varieties.' Citing Hellenism, Romanism, Christendom and other major movements of ideas and beliefs, he says these could be seen to fathom Europe’s mould and memory of itself, raising as many questions as answers, 'the more so in a post-war, post-colonial and post-modern world'.

Referring to Denis de Rougemont's 28 siecles d'Europe, prefaced in 1990 by Jacques Delors, Frendo evokes the myth of Cadmos. 'The son of Agenor and brother of Europa, Cadmos only found his sister after much adventure and travail. Hence "rechercher l'Europe c’est la faire"' – to search for Europe is to make her.

Printed at Gutenberg and designed by Midsea, The European Mind as a set of two hard-bound volumes is on sale at 100 euros, or at 55 euros for volume 1 and 60 euros for volume 2, from Sierra Book Distributors. More information may be obtained from the Malta University Press.

12 Oct 2010
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