In Printing in Malta, 1642-1839: Its cultural role from inception to the granting of Freedom of the Press, Zammit discusses the evolution of printing activity in Malta and of its product since its start in 1642 down to the granting of press liberty in 1839. The first part of the work consists of an in-depth study of the establishment and functioning of printing facilities on the island during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Based upon contemporary doucmentation and a detailed analysis of actual specimens of the locally printed product, this provides new insights on Malta’s early printing history, not least being discoveries relating to Pompeo de Fiore, Malta’s first-known printer.
The second part focuses upon the local eighteenth-century printed product, with particular emphasis upon its format, subject-matter, motivations for its printing, marketing potential, and forms of control exercised over its production and dissemination.
The third and final part of the study concerns the transformations undertaken in Maltese printing activity and in the nature of its output during the French and British administrations, as well as developments in what had become a major Maltese demand from their colonial masters, namely the concession of a free press. The granting of the latter in March 1839 heralded a major turning point in Maltese printing and publishing history and one which was to contribute in a very significant way towards improvement in many aspects of Maltese life.