In December 2019, Midsea Books published The Examined Life: Writings in honour of Guido Lanfranco.
The book, edited by Prof. Mark-Anthony Falzon, includes a collection of writings that discuss and celebrate the lifework of Guido Lanfranco in the fields of natural history and popular culture.
Most of the contributions are by resident academics at or scholars connected in some way or other to the University of Malta.
It is also, but not just, a Festschrift. The first part includes recollections by Lanfranco’s brother Edwin (a specialist on botany and until recently a member of the Department of Biology) and his son Sandro (the current Head of Department of Biology), an interview, and the text of the oration given by Prof. Joseph A. Borg on the occasion of an Honoris Causa degree conferred on Lanfranco by the University in 2015. It also presents a selection from a splendid set of 600 botanical and other drawings which were presented by Guido Lanfranco to the University library in 2015.
The second part of the book is made up of nineteen contributions written by specialists in their fields; they all connect directly to the work of Guido Lanfranco. The contributors are Alfred E. Baldacchino (a biodiversity manager), Guido Bonett (Malta’s foremost nature photographer), Prof. Joseph A. Borg (Department of Biology), Dr Anna Borg Cardona (a musicologist), Prof. Joseph M. Brincat (Department of Italian), Prof. Carmel Cassar (Institute of Maltese Studies), Prof. Louis F. Cassar (Institute of Earth Systems), David Dandria (Department of Biology), Prof. Mark-Anthony Falzon (Department of Sociology), Jennifer Fiorentino (Biology, Junior College), Charles Gauci (a specialist on dragonflies), Dr Paul Portelli (who has just been awarded a PhD by the Institute of Maltese Studies), Rachel Radmilli (Department of Management), Prof. Patrick J. Schembri (Department of Biology), Carmel Spiteri (an interior designer and art historian), Joe Sultana (Malta’s foremost ornithologist, who died in 2018), Timothy J. Tabone (a freelance ethnobotanist), Caroline Tonna (Curator, Palazzo Falson) and Dr Theresa Zammit Lupi (a book and paper conservator and Head of Conservation at the Notarial Archives).
The book, which is richly illustrated, includes a Foreword by Dr Desmond Morris, a world-renowned author who was conferred an Honoris Causa degree by the University of Malta in 2015.