Vol. 27 (2017)

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)


EUGENIE FREED • Philadelphia


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    The Queen's Two Bodies and the Elizabethan Male Subject in John Lyly's Gallathea (1592)
    (Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2017) Singh, Amritesh
    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.
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    Joseph 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) Hendrickx, Benjamin; Sansaridou-Hendrickx, Thekla
    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.
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    Death and the Sonnet
    (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.
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    (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.


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 verse-novel, culminating in the publication, in 2017, of her monograph A Genealogy of the Verse Novel.


EUGENIE FREED is a Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where she taught for many years in the English Department. Her current interests and explorations include Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, and some lesser-known Early Modern figures, as well as William Blake. However, she has never lost her enthusiasm for her first love, medieval studies. In recent years she has enjoyed experimenting with creative writing, and has published a number of short stories and an historical novel. Her study, 'A Portion of His Life': William Blake's Miltonic Vision of Woman, was published in 1994.


BENJAMIN HENDRICKX is professor emeritus at the University of Johannesburg. He studied in Louvain and obtained his PhD from Thessaloniki. His research covers two fields, (i) history and institutions of Frankish Greece and (ii) Afro-Byzantina, in which fields he has widely published. For his research, he received the Christoffel Plantin Prize (Belgium), the Gold Cross of St Mark (Alexandria), an Onassis Grant, and high ratings from the NRF. He became ‘Commander in the Order of Honour’ (Greece, 2008) and King Albert II (Belgium) ‘knighted’ him in 2011. He has worked in Belgium, Tahiti, Greece and South Africa.


THEKLA SANSARIDOU-HENDRICKX is professor emeritus at the University of Johannesburg. She obtained her MA from the University of the Free State and her PhD from the University of the Johannesburg (formerly Rand Afrikaans University). Her research covers the following fields: (i) Greek medieval chronicles, (ii) Greek identity and nationalism, and (iii) history of Frankish Greece (Frankokratia). She published several books and articles in all three fields, including Nationalism and national consciousness during the Middle Ages based on the Chronicle of Morea (2007). Together with B. Hendrickx she has edited the accredited journal Ekklesiastikos Pharos (African Series) and co-edited the international Prosopographic Lexicon of Byzantine History and Culture (Brepols, Belgium).


AMRITESH SINGH teaches English at the University of Southampton’s campus in Dalian, China. He graduated with a PhD from the University of York in 2011. Since then, he has held teaching fellowships at York and Teesside in the UK and at Auckland in New Zealand. He was a postdoctoral fellow at UNISA’s Institute for Gender Studies from 2014 to 2016. He publishes in the fields of constructions of gender and sexuality in early modern English literature and Bollywood adaptations of Shakespeare.