, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 157–167 | Cite as

Dun Karm, the national poet of Malta

A lyrical interpretation of life and citizenship
  • Oliver Friggieri


It is very difficult to assess the enormous influence Dun Karm had on Maltese literature in general, and on Maltese poetry in particular. He managed to raise the standard of writing in Maltese to levels never known before, and to demand that writers discipline themselves in technique and employ all their resources to give shape to worthy content. A scientific investigation into the subsequent development of literature in Malta further proves that his towering figure became emblematic of what is fundamentally Maltese and authentically poetic. In 1933 Laurent Ropa had already recognized him as a national poet.9 However, his relevance is infinitely wider, and nationhood is only one of the more conspicuous dimensions of his legacy.


Subsequent Development Scientific Investigation Comparative Literature Enormous Influence National Poet 
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  1. 1.
    The complete works of Dun Karm in Maltese were collected and published in a critical edition in 1980 (cfr. O. Friggieri ed., Dun Karm —Il-Poeziji Migbura, Malta, Klabb Kotba Maltin-Karmen Mikallef Buhagar, 1980).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. J. Arberry — P. Grech ed.,Dun Karm Poet of Malta, Cambridge University Press (University of Cambridge Oriental Publications no. 6), 1961, pp. vii–viii.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For a detailed account of the influence of Manzoni on Dun Karm cfr. O. Friggieri “Influssi manzoniani sul poeta nazionale di Malta, Dun Karm”,Arcadia, no. 21, vol. 3, 1986, pp. 276–284.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cfr.A. Mons. Pietro Pace nel suo trionfale ingresso-il Seminario, Malta, G. Muscat, 1889, pp. 25–27.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cfr.Il-Habib, 1/2/1912, p. 3.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The aspects of the considerable influence exerted by Monti on the poet are analysed in O. Friggieri,Storia della letteratura maltese, Milazzo, Edizioni Spes, 1986, pp. 203–216.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cfr. Dun Karm,L-Oqbra, Malta, Stamperija tal-Gvern, 1936.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    G. Marcel,The Mystery of Being, vol. II,Faith and Reality, Harvill Press, 1951, p. 176.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ropa writes: “Peut-être a-t-on été frappé, comme je le fus moi-même, par la beauté vraiment souveraine (ou alors je ne trompe fort) des extraits duChant de La Victoire, que je viens de présenter. Leur auteur, Mgr. Carmelo Psaíla, alias Dun Karm, fait figure de poète nationale” (“Malta et sa littérature”,La Grande Revue, no. 149, nov. 1935, p. 36).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Friggieri

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