Earlier this month, the Ambassador for Spain, HE Don José Pons, presented copies of the Maltese translation of Miguel de Cervantes’ work, The Deceitful Marriage, to the members of the Department of Maltese at the University of Malta.
On the occasion, organised by Professor Carmel Vassallo, Head of the Department of Spanish and Latin American Studies, the Ambassador expressed his support for cultural and academic initiatives that make a literary figure of the stature of Cervantes accessible in other languages besides Spanish.
Translated by Fiona Sciberras, Żwieġ Qarrieqi encourages the Maltese reader to follow other works by Cervantes apart from his magnum opus, Don Quixote, the Ambassador said, recalling that the translation of the Cervantes novel into a Maltese poetic version, by Pawlu Montebello, was published last year. The Ambassador spoke of the importance of letting Maltese stand alongside other major languages into which Cervantes has been translated. He also noted that works by Cervantes in Maltese would enhance the awareness of cultural and historical links between Spain and Malta.
Dr Bernard Micallef, Head of the Department of Maltese, expressed his appreciation for the Ambassador’s generous gesture, highlighting the benefit for Maltese literature of having canonical literary works translated into Maltese. 'This is one way,' he went on to say, 'of demonstrating our language’s versatility in accommodating the figurative techniques of major works that have attained to the status of world literature.' Dr Micallef stressed the need to keep up such cross-cultural initiatives, not least between different literary histories. This would introduce a world literature into the Maltese readership’s mindset and, in the process, guarantee a wider range of literary styles and themes articulated in Maltese.