Professor Anthony (Toni) Aquilina’s annotated translation into Maltese of Jean Anouilh’s 'Antigone / Antigona', a masterpiece of the modern French theatre, has just been published to coincide with this year’s National Book Festival that took place at the Malta Mediterranean Conference Centre between 7 and 11 November .
Anouilh’s 'Antigone', written in 1942, was first performed at the Théâtre de l’Atelier in Paris two years later when France still formed part of Hitler’s Europe and the dictator’s stormtroops were the backdrop of everyday life. Although this tragedy (published with three others in 1947 under the title 'Nouvelles pièces noires') was based on the classical story of Sophocles (c. 497/6B.C.-406/5B.C.), produced in Athens in the 5th century B.C., its theme was nonetheless very topical, because in Antigone’s reiterated 'Non! / Le!' to King Creon the French theatre-goers saw their own resistance to the German occupation. The irony of it all is that the Germans presumably found Creon’s arguments in favour of dictatorship convincing enough to allow the play to be performed uncensored.
'Antigona' is a Faraxa publication. Professor Aquilina is a member of the Department of Translation, Terminology and Interpreting Studies within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Malta.