11 May 2010

Rużar Briffa, Valletta, Malta

One of the works of the romantic poet Rużar Briffa (1906-63) is called 'Fil-Barrakka ta' Fuq' ('At Upper Barrakka') and it is appropriate that there should be a plaque commemorating him in the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta.

As a medical student - later a specialist in dermatology and venereology - he was friends with fellow student and future novelist Ġużè Bonnici, and they used to discuss literature together. Briffa admired Keats, Dante and D'Annuncio.

His wife Louisette said that he dreamed of 'beautifying' patients, and this idea is reflected in some of his work: he was known as 'The Poet of Beauty'. Louisette donated her husband's manuscripts to the University of Malta, which has copied some examples to a CD-ROM, and here are several images of the manuscripts. Also, there's a 5 minute 29 seconds documentary in Maltese on Briffa.

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