To mark the canonization of St John Henry Newman on 13 October 2019, this issue begins with a study of his novel, Callista (1855), a martyrological narrative set in the third century. Although the work lies obliquely to medieval and Renaissance studies in the strictest sense, it speaks to the interpenetration of late antiquity with modernity in ways that seem entirely appropriate to the place of historicist studies in Southern Africa today.
Sonia Fanucchi's analysis of the nature of ritual, and ritualist language, in Newman's provocatively non-realist novel raises many questions about the evolution of martyrology. Marianne Dircksen, in the concluding article of the volume, addresses a related issue: how to translate polemical martyrology, composed in Latin by the Jesuit Robert Persons in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, into English in the aftermath of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation: her piece could profitably be read in conjunction with Peter Titlestad's study, in volume 28, of Bunyan, Luther and Calvin.
Newman and Robert Persons both engaged in a conversation between Europe and England, the persecution of the early church and the condition of Catholics in Protestant England. Everett Beek scrutinizes another conversation: between Dante and Vergil – not the interchanges between the two figures in La Commedia itself, but the two poets' contrasting treatment of Manto, sorceress or founding luminary of Vergil's home city. Translation puzzles also enter into Catherine Addison's survey of women warriors in the epic romances of Boiardo, Ariosto, Tasso and Spenser: Spenser's importation and repurposing of Italian-made hero[in]es, and the Englishing of these Italian poems. Occupying the middle ground between Dante and Spenser, Leila Hassim takes Marguerite Porete and Julian of Norwich, French beguine and English anchorite, and finds in their extraordinary works a common need to encode mystical experience on the threshold of the inarticulate. Readers of the journal will be reminded of Eugenie Freed's short story about Marguerite, 'Philadelphia', in volume 27.
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
CATHERINE ADDISON is a professor of English at the University of
Zululand. After completing a PhD on Byron at the University of
British Columbia, she started her career as a specialist on Romantic
poetry, but has diversified. Her literary interests now include Early
Modern, Victorian, Modernist and Postmodernist literature; colonial
and postcolonial writing; the prose novel; African women’s fiction; and
formal aspects of literature such as versification, narrative, simile and
irony. Recently she has focused much of her attention on the versenovel,
culminating in the publication, in 2017, of her monograph
A Genealogy of the Verse Novel.
A. EVERETT BEEK is a classical philologist, currently a Postdoctoral
Research Fellow at North-West University, whose research focuses on
depictions of the afterlife and supernatural episodes in Latin poetry.
Her 2015 dissertation ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Death’ studies
violence as a catalyst for apotheosis in Ovid’s Fasti, and she has several
publications related to this subject. Beyond this, she has published on
Elysium in Greek literature and gendering in Ovid’s Metamorphoses;
she has also worked as an Italian translator. Her current principal
project is a translation and commentary on Ovid’s Fasti for Aris and
Philips’ Classical Texts.
MARIANNE DIRCKSEN is a former director of the School of Ancient
Languages and Text Studies at the North West University in South
Africa. Before her retirement in 2016 she taught Latin language and
literature at university level for 40 years. The Histories and Annals of
Tacitus were the subject of both her Master’s dissertation and D.Litt. et
Phil. thesis. She has published mainly on Tacitus and Latin pedagogy.
Since her retirement she has become involved in a project aimed at
the translation and annotation of Latin documents dating from the
late sixteenth century.
SONIA FANUCCHI is a lecturer in English at the University of the
Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Her teaching is focused on Victorian
and Medieval undergraduate and postgraduate modules. She obtained
her PhD from the same university on the connections between antitheatricality
and anti-Catholicism in Brontë, Newman and Dickens
and is currently working this material into a book. She has recently
published an article in Nineteenth Century Contexts, entitled ‘Devils,
Kettles and Drama: Grip as mystical Clown in Barnaby Rudge’.
LEILA HASSIM teaches English literature at St Augustine College,
medieval studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Academic
Development and Research Skills at Varsity College, Johannesburg.
Her research interests include women’s voices in literature (especially
mystical literature), African literature and American literature. She
obtained her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2019.