1. - The first news of this new year concerns not Alexandro Malaspina but rather the territory of Mulazzo. Taking advantage of a rather exceptional event, we seize the opportunity to bring it to the attention of everyone interested in both the Navigator and the land in which he was born.
In the vicinity of Stallone di Groppoli two statue-stele have been unearthed. It is reported that the finds derive from the Bronze Age (2nd millennium B.C.). The stelae are both female, and one of the two is headless, having apparenty been the victim of the iconoclastic frenzy which invested the Vale of Magra between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. These are not the first statue-stele to be discovered within the Commune of Mulazzo (previously one had been discovered at Campoli and two at Canossa), but the discovery confirms the hypothesis that in prehistory, along the right bank of the Magra, there were numerous settlements perhaps not inferior to those on the opposite bank.
The two statue-stele, after the necessary restoration, will be kept in the Museo del Piagnaro (Pontremoli), which (between originals and casts) already contains more than fifty of them.
2. - Blanca Sáiz and Dario Manfredi are working on an updating of the bibliography relating to Alexandro Malaspina and his scientific expedition. The only existing bibliography on Malaspina, compiled by Blanca Sáiz, goes up to 1992 and comprises more than 1100 entries. Even so, since then there have appeared over 500 more works, mostly in Spain, but also in Italy and in America. If it proves difficult to find a motivated publisher, the compilers are planning to put the work on-line, which will no doubt be particularly helpful for researchers.
3. - A useful collaboration (exchange of publications etc.) has been
set up between this Centro and the Istituto Geografico Polare Silvio Zavatti
di Fermo. Anyone interested in knowing more about the activity of
this institute can send e-mail to Gianluca Frinchillucci, its director:
PUBLISHING NOTES AND COMMENTS
E. SOLER PASCUAL, «La utopía de Robinson Malaspina»,
Contextos, Valencia, s.d., Grupo 10 Librerias de Calidad, pp. 37-58.
This slim volume includes a dozen literary compositions of various kinds. Emilio Soler (whom Malaspinisti know well as having published some groundbreaking work on the arrest of Malaspina) has for once abandoned history to devote himself to literary creation. This consists in fact of a short story in which the Navigator, during the Expedition, reaches the islands of Juan Fernández, fakes his own tragic disappearance and, taking refuge in the cave previously occupied by Robinson Crusoe, tries to reach the state of happiness that in old Europe was regarded as utopian.
The novella is well-written and absorbing, confirming that Emilio Soler knows also how to be a pleasing writer; in this "fabulous" context there also appear some absolutely fantastical incidental references: Mulazzo belonging to the Duchy of Parma, Félix de Azara and the Count of Floridablanca schoolmates of Malaspina, the departure took place on July 1/1789...
Latest publications to reach the Center
Il Polo. Rivista trimestrale dell'Istituto Geografico Polare
Silvio Zavatti, Anno LV, vol. 1, March 2000.
This magazine also contains facsimile reproductions of the 1945-46 editions of the "Bollettino dell'Istituto Geografico Polare," with interesting articles on the Nobile expedition to the North Pole.
In the final news-bulletin of last year we addressed the year of death of Alexandro Malaspina. We now want to speak of his birth, for two reasons: there is no shortage of people who still maintain, first of all, that the Navigator was born in Milazzo (Sicily), and second (confusing him with his older brother) that he was born in 1749. To put an end once and for all to this quarrel, we publish here Paper 279 of the Register of Baptisms (1689-1806) of the Parish of Mulazzo, in which appears the record regarding Alexandro.
Dies 5a Novembris 1754
Alexander filius Ecc.i D. Marchionis Caroli, et Caterina Coniuges Malaspina, baptizatus fuit a me infrascripto domi private.
Ceremonie vero non sunt facte (1)
Aurelius Alberini Rect.
1) The last four words appear to be a later addition.
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