Dr Adrian Grima was recently invited to lecture at INALCO (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales), a major university institution in Paris. Dr Grima, who teaches Maltese literature in the Department of Maltese of the Faculty of Arts, made two presentations related to Maltese literature, one about the figure of the sacred, and the other about the figures of the woman and couple. A third presentation, one about popular musical traditions, dealt with “għana” and its presence in contemporary music in Malta.
On Wednesday 25 March, Dr Grima gave a public talk on “L’imaginaire méditerranéen dans la littérature maltaise.” In this rencontre-débat, Prof. Mourad Yelles, head of the research team on Langues et Cultures du Nord de l’Afrique et Diasporas (LACNAD) which hosted the event, reacted to the hour-long talk.
Adrian Grima argued that Maltese literature has not developed an elaborate narrative of the Mediterranean. Early twentieth-century Maltese authors chose not to follow the lead of Franco-Maltese writers and intellectuals like Laurent Ropa who were influenced by French Mediterraneanist discourse. Neither did it allow themselves to be influenced by the narrative of Malta as the cradle of so-called “Mediterranean civilisation” developed by Luigi M. Ugolini and other contributors to the journal Archivio Storico di Malta published in Rome and sanctioned by the Fascist regime. Dr Grima focussed on pre-Independence literary works that deal with the Mediterranean by Juann Mamo, Ġużè Bonnici, and Dun Frans Camilleri, and highlighed the important differences in the way their texts represent the sea and the region.
Prof. Mourad Yelles, who specialises in Maghrebi literature and the female oral traditions, was invited twice to the University of Malta by the Department of Maltese to give lectures and work on common research areas. INALCO have asked Dr Grima to return in order to give other lectures and continue the collaboration between the two institutions.
In Paris Adrian Grima also gave a poetry reading from his books Ici arrivent les mouettes, La coda della freccia and Deciphered Lips. He was accompanied by Elizabeth Grech, who translates his poetry into French, Costanza Ferrini, who edited his book of translations into Italian, and the exiled Syrian poet, Golan Haji. The evening was attended, among others, by the Ambassador of Malta to France, H. E. Vincent Camilleri.