Copyright © The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Malta Historical Society]. 6(1974)3(338)

[p.338] PAUL XUEREB, Melitensia; A Catalogue of Printed Books and Articles in the Royal University of Malta Library referring to Malta, Malta University Press, 1974, 76pp.

Despite the comparative youth of the Malta University Library in its modem form, its Melitensia section has become a most convenient place for those working on Maltese subjects. Much credit for this achieve­ment must go to Dr. Xuereb, the author of Melitensia. The historian tends to greet published library catalogues with mixed feelings. He can expect new titles and be sure of finding them in the library concerned, if it is accessible to him, but books which are not in that library will not be in its catalogue; therefore, as in this case the author himself is careful to point out, his work "is not a bibliography but a catalogue". By way of compensation, Dr. Xuereb does in fact provide a comprehensive list of bibliographies which many historians of Malta will find the most original and useful section of his catalogue. The second section, on "Biography", will also be valuable to historians; in particular, it collects together titles referring to some of those gifted scholars who made late eighteenth century Malta a centre of academic interests and activities. This circle seems to have withered away when the departure of the Knights and the British occupation of Malta severed its varied continental connections, but it deserves study as a group. The student of Maltese history faces thousands of books and articles, and this preliminary cata­logue of 628 items can naturally do little more than provide him with some unexpected or unknown references to rarer works and unpublished theses. However, the author announces further more specialized cata­logues for the future, and this first volume constitutes a step towards the fulfilment of a daunting, perhaps impossible, task: the creation of that complete bibliography of Maltese History which have for so long been considered a desideratum.

Anthony Luttrell