This volume of the journal of the Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies is as diverse as ever. Readers of the journal will be familiar with the work of Catherine Addison, who has been a regular contributor to the journal. Her article on 'Chamberlayne's Pharonnida: The First English Verse Novel', published in volume 25, prefigured the appearance of a monograph in 2017. In this volume she argues that the sonnet form itself, following Petrarch, embodies the theme of death.
Two articles emanating from the Byzantine research unit at the University of Johannesburg were published in volume 25: Savvas Kyraikidis on Demetrios Kydones (1324–1398) and Effrosyni Zacharopoulou on the black St Maurice of Magdeburg and the Christian kingdoms in Nubia and Ethiopia in the thirteenth century. Now we have an article by the head of that unit, Benjamin Hendrickx, along with Thekla Sansaridou-Hendrickx, on the Duchy of Naxos in the Aegean. The authors discuss the transition from the Venetians and Franks to Ottoman rule in the sixteenth century, and especially the role of the enigmatic Duke Joseph Naci.
Amritesh Singh's article offers an intriguing analysis of gender issues in John Lyly's Gallathea (1592), referring to representations of the myth of the judgement of Paris in paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Eworth. He argues that John Lyly's treatment of masculinity and female authority makes him the ideal male subject of Queen Elizabeth I.
This volume marks a departure from earlier volumes by including a short piece of historical fiction by Eugenie Freed, well known for her treatment of women authors in the English Renaissance. Here she tells the story of Marguerite de Porete, the medieval French mystic who was burnt for heresy but now ranks among the classics of Western spirituality, from the point of view of her defender Guiard de Cressonessart.
CATHERINE ADDISON • Death and the Sonnet
BENJAMIN HENDRICKX AND THEKLA SANSARIDOU-HENDRICKX • The State of the Duchy of the Archipelago (Naxos) during the reign of Joseph Naci and his locotenente Francesco Coronello, 1566–1579
AMRITESH SINGH • The Queen’s Two Bodies and the Elizabethan Male Subject
in John Lyly’s Gallathea (1592)
(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2017) Addison, Catherine; Houliston,Victor
This article argues that the fundamental theme of the sonnet
is not love but death. Though some sonnets have from the
beginning focused explicitly on death, the majority from the
late Middle Ages to the Renaissance are love poems. Petrarch may be regarded as the prototypical sonneteer and idolizer of love; but on close analysis his focus is found to be more on the ephemerality of love than on love itself. The structure of the sonnet supports – even creates – a predisposition toward death. Both the Italian and the English varieties display a fixed and intricate structure of extreme terseness, offering space for an utterance of concentrated force and complexity, but one whose
principal feature is brevity. While complexity of structure allows
for the conflicted or self-reflecting consciousness that Paul
Oppenheimer claims of this form, brevity brings its discourse
to a point, in Michael Spiller’s sense, all too quickly. The
bringing to a point of a short-lived dilation reflects in miniature
the confrontation of the individual consciousness with its own
point or full-stop. The article demonstrates that death sonnets
are not exceptions to a more erotic rule but explicit statements
of what is present in all sonnets, implicit in the form itself.
(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2017) Freed, Eugenie R.; Houliston,Victor
The historical Marguerite Porete, condemned as a heretic, was burned
at the stake on 1 June 1310, in the Place de Grève in Paris. Guiard de
Cressonessart, who claimed to be the Angel of Philadelphia and her
‘defender’, was sentenced at the same time to perpetual imprisonment.
Despite its official suppression, Marguerite’s The Mirror of Simple Souls
survived as an anonymous mystical text, and was translated during the
fourteenth century into English, Italian and Latin versions. In 1946, over
six centuries after Marguerite’s death, her authorship of the work was
finally established by an Italian scholar, Romana Guarneri.