Friday, 5th February 2010 The Timrd

Malta studies published in Paris, Oxford
Leading academic publishers have just released studies about Malta in France and in Britain.

The book entitled 27 Lecons D’histoire, Editions Du Seuil, in Paris carries chapters by outstanding European historians such as Jacques Le Goff and Eric Hobsbawm investigating “the foundations of Europe and its destiny”.

Based on a public lecture series Les Europeens on the occasion of France’s EU Presidency under the auspices of President Nicolas Sarkozy, the chapter on Malta relates to Henry Frendo’s public lecture on Europe, Empire, Mediterranee, delivered at the Maison Mediterraneene des Sciences de l’Homme in Aix-en-Provence, re-named Malte, Un Carrefour De Cultures Et De Civilisations.

Prof. Frendo traces what he calls the islanders’ wish throughout their history “to form part of a larger whole” while retaining as much internal autonomy as possible. With the advantage of hindsight and the expansion of a European community, he sees in a rather complementary light 20th century proposals by Enrico Mizzi and Dominic Mintoff towards a closer integration with Italy and Britain respectively. He compares this to similar “push-pull” situations in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Algeria and elsewhwere, while positing the respect for culture and nationality as a creative source for international understanding in a future Europe predicated on shared history and core values.

The latest volume of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, published by Oxford University Press, contains more entries by the same author. These deal with two former party leaders and Prime Ministers: Sir Ugo Mifsud (1889-1942), a constitutional lawyer, from his first involvement in politics in 1919 at the time of the Sette Giugno events until his untimely death preceeding the deportations of Maltese subjects in 1942; and Sir Paul Boffa (1890-1962), a medical doctor, whose career started in 1923 in the nascent Labour Party, which he eventually led to its greatest ever electoral victory in 1947 before falling out with one of his own newly-appointed ministers who, having split the party, forced him into a coalition with Nationalist administrations led by George Borg Olivier in the 1950s.

Other very recent works by Prof. Frendo have appeared in peer-reviewed international journals such as The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, on Australian Press Perspectives Of Lord Strickland’s Malta, and the Journal of Mediterranean Studies, on The Longing For Identity And Community Among Maltese Migrant Settlers In North Africa.

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