M. E. Bratchel and SASMARS: The Historian at the Literary Club
The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
Michael Bratchel was one of the earliest members of the Medieval Society of Southern Africa, which held its inaugural conference in 1972, the year he was appointed to a lectureship in the History Department at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.1 He remained a stalwart of the Society until his retirement in 2012 and it is with pleasure and gratitude that we devote this special issue of the Society’s journal to his honour. It has not been an easy path for him to tread. As a medievalist, he found himself in an academic environment scrambling to re-invent itself and shed all euro-centric associations. As an Italianist, he was far from his sources and isolated from his peers – until the advent of e-mail. As an historian, he gave extraordinary time and energy to a Society dominated by literary scholars: even more so, when the Medieval Society became the Southern African Society of Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Shakespeareans were at the gates.
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