Talk in Paris marks 50th Anniversary of the Death of Laurent Ropa


Laurent Ropa (courtesy Fr P. Rapa)

The research unit that focuses on the Languages and Cultures of North Africa and Diasporas (LaCNAD) at INALCO in Paris recently hosted a talk by Dr Adrian Grima on Laurent Ropa’s “Mediterranean humanism”. This event marked the 50th anniversary of the death on 29 March 1967 of Laurent Ropa, the French-Maltese writer of Gozitan origin who was brought up in Constantine, in colonial Algeria.

The talk was attended by academics and BA, MA and Ph.D students of Inalco and was followed by a discussion. Inalco, the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations, which was founded in 1832 and is recognized as a grand établissement, the mark of France’s most prestigious research and higher education institutions, has a longstanding relationship with the Department of Maltese in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Malta. Dr Grima teaches a course on Maltese language and literature,“Initiation au Maltais”, at Inalco.

The talk held on March 7, “Autour de l’utopie méditerranéenne dans les littératures coloniales : Le cas de Laurent Ropa”, explored the various historical and discursive contexts of Ropa’s writings about Maltese language and literature and Mediterranean culture in the 1930s in Melita and other papers and periodicals published by the European communities in North Africa, like Annales africaines : revue hebdomadaire de l’Afrique du Nord. Adrian Grima’s multicontextualist reading offered an overview of Ropa’s connections, among others, with Gabriel Audisio of the École d’Alger, the algérianiste Robert Randau, and literary figures in Malta engaged in the development and recognition of the Maltese language and its literature.

Dr Adrian Grima with the students of Initiation au maltais at Inalco in Paris

Twelve BA third year students of Maghrebi language and literature attended this year’s unit on Maltese language and literature given by Dr Grima. They were introduced to the history and current use of the Maltese language, with a focus on developments in phonology, morphology, vocabulary, and literature.

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Laurent Ropa’s article on the origins of the Maltese language in Annales africaines (1934)
Adrian Grima teaches Maltese literature and representations of the Mediterranean in the Department of Maltese of the University of Malta.



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