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Dictionary of World Biography
and he writes with directness and vigour. Two main
themes compose the story that runs through the eight
romances: (a) the tragic end of Arthur’s reign and the
breakup of the knightly brotherhood that gathered
at the Round Table; (b) Launcelot’s failure, through
sin, to find the Holy Grail (the cup used at the
Last Supper) and Galahad’s success. Almost all later
versions of the legends, e.g. Tennyson’s Idylls of the
King, are based on Malory (*Geoffrey of Monmouth.)
Reiss, E., Sir Thomas Malory. 1966.
Malouf, David George Joseph (1934– ). Australian
novelist and poet, born in Brisbane. His novels
include An Imaginary Life (1979), Fly Away Peter
(1982), Harland’s Half Acre (1984), The Great World
(1990) and Remembering Babylon (1993). Ransom
(2009) is a powerful adaptation, from The Iliad, of
Priam’s mission to reclaim the body of his son Hector
from Achilles. He wrote the libretto for Richard
Meale’s opera Voss (1986), based on Patrick *White’s
Malpighi, Marcello (1628–1694). Italian anatomist
and microscopist. He studied and (from 1666) was
a professor at Bologna University. Malpighi virtually
founded histology (including that of plants) and is
noted for his studies of the structure of the brain,
lungs, glands and liver and especially for extending
*Harvey’s work on the circulation of the blood, by
discovering the capillaries. He also investigated
muscular cells and wrote a treatise on the silkworm.
Adelmann, H., Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution
of Embryology. 5 vols. 1966.
Malraux, André (1901–1976). French writer and
politician. Having studied oriental languages he
accompanied an archaeological expedition to IndoChina 1923–25, where, as a Communist, he claimed
to have played an important part in Chinese politics
1925–27. He used his varied experiences in his novels,
e.g. Les Conquéants (1928) and La Condition humaine
(1933, winner of the Prix Goncourt) and L’Espoir
(1937). He commanded the foreign air corps fighting
against *Franco in the Spanish Civil War, and during
World War II became a leader of the French resistance
movement. As a friend and admirer of de *Gaulle, he
was Minister for Information 1945–46, 1958 and an
energetic and imaginative minister for cultural affairs
1958–69. His works on the psychology and history
of art include The Voices of Silence (1951, translated
1953) and Museum without Walls (1952–54, 1967).
Suares, G., Malraux: Past Present and Future. 1974.
Malthus, Thomas Robert (1766–1834). English
population theorist, born near Dorking. He
distinguished himself in mathematics at Cambridge,
where he became (1797) a Fellow of Jesus College.
Meanwhile he had taken holy orders and led a county
clergyman’s life in Surrey until (1805) he became a
teacher at Haileybury College, where he worked for
the rest of his life. In his famous Essay on the Principle
of Population (published anonymously in 1798 and
revised in 1803) he argued that population tends
to increase at a geometric ratio (each generation
can double up) while the means of subsistence only
increases incrementally (at an arithmetic ratio), and
that the only constraints to population growth were
famine, war, disease, celibacy, infanticide and the
‘vicious practice’ of contraception. When Malthus
wrote, world population was 800 million. (By March
2012 it was 7.0 billion, most living far longer and
consuming more than people of Malthus’s time.)
Marxists and Catholics both attacked Malthus for
his complacent acceptance of high death rates for
the poor. He ignored the impact of technology in
agriculture, although the problems of water supply
and inadequate soil for farming are increasingly
serious. *Darwin’s concept of ‘the survival of the
fittest’ was influenced by his reading of Malthus.
Bonar, J., Malthus and His Work. 1966.
Malvern, Godfrey Martin Huggins, 1st Viscount
(1883–1971). Rhodesian politician, born in Bexley,
Kent. He practised as a doctor in Rhodesia from
1911, both before and after his service in the RAMC
during World War I, and became a Member of
the Legislative Assembly of Southern Rhodesia in
1923. He was Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia
1933–53 and then of the newly formed Federation
of Rhodesia and Nyasaland 1953–56.
Mamum (Abul Abbas Abdallah al Mamum) (786–
833). Abbasid caliph of Baghdad 809–33. Son of
*Harun al-Raschid, politically his reign was troubled,
but it was a time of great intellectual distinction as
Mamum encouraged learning, especially the study
of Greek science. Many Greek works were preserved
through their translation into Arabic in his ‘House of
Wisdom’ (founded 830), where he gathered together
the leading scholars of his day.
Mandela, Nelson Rolihlahia (1918–2013). South
African political leader, born in Mvezo, Cape
Province. A Xhosa, and a chief of the Tembu clan,
he rejected tribal life, but was often called Mandiba,
his Xhosa name. Educated at the University College
of Fort Hare and the University of Witwatersrand,
he became a lawyer in Johannesburg (1952) and
national organiser of the African National Congress
(ANC). In 1958 he married Winnie (Nomzano
Zaniewe) Madikizela (1936– ). After a long trial for
treason (1956–61) he was acquitted in 1961. He was
sentenced to five years’ jail in 1962 for ‘incitement’
and leaving South Africa without permission. In
1964 he was sentenced to life imprisonment, after
a long trial at Rivonia, on a charge of sabotage and
conspiracy. He survived 27 years in prison, (14 at
Robben Island) without deterioration, renounced
thoughts of retribution and assumed the moral
leadership of the ANC while Oliver Tambo (1917–
1993) ran the organisation from London. Following