- ItemThe Queen's Two Bodies and the Elizabethan Male Subject in John Lyly's Gallathea (1592)(Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017)This article reads John Lyly’s Gallathea as an experiment in the representation of Elizabeth in the political context specific to the mid- to late-1580s. The argument diverges from the critical tradition that regards the play as part of a series of attempts to promote representations of Elizabeth as the Virgin Queen, which included Lyly’s Endimion. The article presents Gallathea as introducing a parallel strain in Elizabethan political discourse where, instead of being divorced from one another, female sexuality and female authority exist in a state of happy union. Concomitantly, the article highlights how Gallathea gestures towards a new code of manhoodand courtliness that does not regard the union between female sexuality and authority as a cause for anxiety, thereby showcasing Lyly himself as the ideal male subject in this discursive realm, equally desirous of and deserving Elizabeth’s patronage.
- ItemJoseph Naci, his locotenente Francesco Coronello, and the State of the Duchy of the Archipelago (Naxos), 1566-1579(Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017)This article examines the duchy of the Archipelago under Joseph Naci and Francesco Coronello, leading to the abolition of the duchy, which was created in 1204 after the occupation of Constantinople by the crusaders. The duchy, which survived the final fall of Byzantium to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, came itself to an end with the death of Joseph Naci in 1579 and its transformation into an Ottoman sancak. Nevertheless, some Byzantine and mainly medieval ‘Frankish’ institutions and titles did survive. This article studies the legal, institutional and practical implications of this process, thereby paying due attention to elements of continuity of feudal ‘Frankish’ institutions and traditions as well as to its gradual replacement with the Ottoman system. However, the new world order of the sixteenth century, which drastically changed the existing values and worldviews, had an inevitable influence on the Mediterranean lands, even on backwaters such as the Archipelago. This article shows how even Naxos could not escape these changes.
- ItemDeath and the Sonnet(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2017)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.
- ItemPhiladelphia(The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS), 2017)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.