IL-MALTI

xcii, no. 92 (2019, but 2021)

Edited by George Farrugia

Published by L-Akkademja tal-Malti and Klabb Kotba Maltin

With the Akkademja tal-Malti forced to celebrate its centenary on a low key owing to the pandemic, the publication of an excellent issue of its official publication, Il-Malti, somewhat makes up for the general disappointment. It is a most elegant bumper 213-page publication which includes its usual valuable assortment of speeches, literary criticism, research, linguistic studies, an interview, and a book review.

While this issue is dedicated to the memory of Marlene Mifsud Chircop, the folklore researcher who died on August 26, 2020, it also includes secretary Joe Borg’s detailed report of the activities of the Akkademja between 2013 and 2015, which were indeed a very active couple of years.

Stanley Fiorini’s talk during the launching of Rev. Dr Martin Micallef’s magnificent Crux Invicta book lays stress on the intellectual figure of G.P.F. de Soldanis, who donated the miraculous crucifix to the Gozo Capuchins, as well as his soured relationship with another Capuchin scholar, Padre Pelagio.

Speaking about his Vespri, Trevor Zahra stresses the crea­tive aspect of writing but also the continuous learning curve all authors are on.

In 1987, calligrapher Zbigniew William Wolkowski started a number of multilingual projects transcribing quotations from literary authors and famous people, in particular scripts that stress the relationship between text and its appearance on paper. In 13 of his most original projects, Wolkowski has used Maltese texts. This issue presents the text of an interesting lecture given by Mario Cassar on Wolkowski’s oeuvre in one of the series of talks organised by the Akkademja.

In 2013, the publication of the annotated edition of Anastasju Cuschieri’s works by fellow Carmelite Charlò Camilleri was a noteworthy literary event. Ongoing research even in foreign archives abroad has turned up a number of Italian and Maltese poems which are duly published as an addendum.

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Marlene Mifsud Chircop

Veteran author Charles Casha writes about humour in Maltese literature and posits that it can serve as a tool for the author in discussing social or personal problems, using a wide cross section of Maltese writers in the process from Juann Mamo to Casha himself.

The MLP’s decision to join AAPSO in 1961 led to a general fear of Reds under the beds.

Sergio Grech analyses local anti-communist popular literature published in the period, which was indeed quite abundant. Seve­ral well-known personalities, often disguised by pen names, led a vibrant campaign redolent of the McCarthy period in the USA. Grech’s paper is also an important contribution for the further light it throws on the history of the time.

Emanuel Tanti discusses psychological, social, moral, and political insularity in Juann Mamo’s classic Ulied in-Nanna Venut fl-Amerka and Ġużè Stagno’s What Happens in Brussels Stays in Brussels.

Adrian Grima writes about the narrator of a story whose voice actually keeps intervening in the narrative to give his perspective. In the local context, Grima discusses the narrator of Ġużè Bonnici’s realist novel Ħelsien, who gives away his ideo­logical stance by the tone of his voice and his comments.

One of the first newspapers published following the granting of the freedom of the press was Il Kaulata Maltia (1839), whose three very interesting issues were edited by G.P. Badger. In it, David Agius Muscat disco­vered long quotations from Stedina by Mikiel Anton Vassalli, two years before its hitherto known first publication. Badger and Vassalli disagreed about the origin of the Maltese language, as well as what the language of primary instruction should be.

Agius Muscat also adds new information on Mikelanġ Camilleri, the Vittoriosa priest who converted to Protestantism and who translated religious books for his new brethren. He also attributes three other books to him.

Prize-winning translator Paul Zahra stresses the importance of respecting the cultural context of the source text and its diachronic and synchronic lexical elements in the translation of both literary and non-literary texts. This he does by pointing some successful translations as well as one which used anachronistic vocabulary.

In 2011, Cardinal Prospero Grech, OSA, was interviewed about his important role in Prof. A.J. Arberry’s translation of Dun Karm’s poetry, which appeared in the book Dun Karm – Poet of Malta. Ivan Said puts the interview, with its many perceptive comments, in its context as well as providing a transcription.

In a short note, Mgr Lawrenz Cachia discusses verbs starting with the letter ‘w’ as the first radical consonant.

The poetry of Jonathan Balzan is reviewed by Charles Briffa, who sees in this young poet who has already published three books of poetry, an authentic voice of contemporary values expressed in a distinctive style. In a world beset by so many troubles and problems, he sees possible salvation only in love that can transcend selfish attitudes.

 

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