‘Malta Ħan­ina’ by Daniel Ron­deau

Malta Independent - - BOOKS -

Pro­fes­sor Toni Aquilina’s trans­la­tion into Mal­tese of Daniel Ron­deau’s Malta Ħan­ina has been pub­lished with the fi­nan­cial sup­port of The Malta Book Coun­cil. The book, orig­i­nally writ­ten in French, was first pub­lished by Édi­tions Gras­set in Jan­uary 2012.

Au­thor, jour­nal­ist, ed­i­tor and di­plo­mat, Daniel Ron­deau was French Am­bas­sador to Malta be­tween 2008 and 2011. He left an in­deli­ble mark on our is­land, seek­ing ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote Malta in the French me­dia and to fur­ther the his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural ties that have long ex­isted be­tween us and France. He was af­ter­wards ap­pointed French Am­bas­sador to Unesco in Paris, where he is now rep­re­sent­ing the United Na­tions Univer­sity think-tank. He is a well-known figure in French lit­er­ary cir­cles, hav­ing won var­i­ous pres­ti­gious prizes, among oth­ers the Prix Pop­uliste (1988), the Prix Lib­erté Lit­téraire (1994), the Prix des Deux Magots (1997), the Prix Saint Si­mon (2014) and the Prix Paul Mo­rand of the French Academy for the to­tal­ity of his work.

Mon­sieur Ron­deau is also an author­ity on the Mediter­ranean. So Malta be­came his Mediter­ranean base from where ac­cord­ing to him he “could bet­ter com­pre­hend Europe’s roots in the Ori­ent, the be­gin­ning of civil­i­sa­tion in this in­ner sea”. Malta Ħan­ina, one could say, records his mem­oirs of Malta. It is the off­spring of a three-year in­tense re­la­tion­ship with our coun­try and its peo­ple. The book en­twines his own life, our his­tory and many other facets and voices. He bril­liantly man­ages to slot he­roes from our col­lec­tive past into mod­ern so­ci­ety align­ing them with the lives of present-day per­son­al­i­ties. To do this ef­fec­tively, the au­thor’s supreme com­mand of the French lan­guage was put to the test through­out as he had to choose el­e­ments drawn from a va­ri­ety of styles.

Pro­fes­sor Aquilina took up the chal­lenge of trans­lat­ing this very eclec­tic piece of writ­ing, thereby in­tro­duc­ing a new lit­er­ary genre in the Mal­tese lan­guage, that of the his­tor­i­cal lit­er­ary es­say that moves par­al­lel with and merg­ing into the life jour­ney and ex­pe­ri­ences of the writer him­self. Prof. Aquilina (Of­ficier dans l’Or­dre des Palmes Académiques) has al­ready pub­lished over 20 trans­la­tions from French into Mal­tese and is a mem­ber of the Depart­ment of Trans­la­tion and Ter­mi­nol­ogy Stud­ies within the Fac­ulty of Arts of The Univer­sity of Malta.

‘Malta Ħan­ina’ is avail­able from all lead­ing book­shops or di­rectly from the pub­lish­ers, www.faraxa­pub­lish­ing.com

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