Thoughts from the outgoing President, Victor Houliston (Victor.Houliston@wits.ac.za)
The latest SASMARS Conference was the third in a row to be held at Mont Fleur, Stellenbosch. We met in 2004 to consider ‘The Multicultural Middle Ages and Beyond’, with Chris Wickham (now a Fellow of All Soul’s College, Oxford) delivering the keynote address. In 2006 the theme was ‘Knowledge/Power’ and our guest was Jerry Brotten from Queen Mary College, London. To address the 2008 conference on ‘Exchange, Conversation and Confrontation’, Susannah Monta came from Notre Dame in Indiana. Looking back over these gatherings, it seems to me that we have succeeded in building up a small but cohesive community of scholars. Some have been involved almost since the founding of the Medieval Society of Southern Africa in 1972, others have joined along the way, and some have joined for the first time. And at each conference there have been a few visitors from universities in Europe and North America. As we sat around the fire on the last evening at Mont Fleur, it struck me that we could have been in the common room of an Oxford college: a place where young and old from many disciplines and many parts can converse, temporarily withdrawn from the busy world but fully engaged with it. That is what a conference is meant to be. It is a tradition that the Society will cherish. But what of the future? The community we have built is an attractive one, and it can grow. It should not be content to be a mere satellite of an intellectual endeavour pursued mainly in Europe and North America, in larger numbers and with greater resources. It can be a significant presence in South African academic life, and a recognizable contributor to international scholarship and debate. Without pre-empting decisions about the next conference theme and keynote speaker, I believe there are three potential areas of growth. We should be able to attract a larger contingent of overseas delegates, perhaps bringing back some of those who have been before. That way we will consolidate and extend the international connection. There’s no doubt that such delegates enliven the debate and widen the horizons, especially for South Africans entering the field. Second, we should involve more people who are working in pre-colonial and early colonial historical studies, especially in the seventeenth century. Third, we should be recruiting more graduate students. So, I call on all established scholars in the field to bring their overseas contacts, their graduate students and their colleagues in cognate disciplines to Mont Fleur in 2010.
From the incoming President, Michael Bratchel (email@example.com)
For the first time in many years the Society has ventured upon a modest change of management. Victor Houliston has held the position of President since the Port Elizabeth conference of 1992. Victor oversaw the adaptation of the constitution of the Medieval Society of Southern Africa to accommodate the mission of SASMARS. He was the energetic coordinating force behind the Society's last seven biennial conferences. Under his leadership the Society has attracted an impressive array of overseas delegates to its biennial conference - in no small measure because of the international connections of Victor himself. The residential character of our most recent conferences has added greatly to the sense of comradeship within the small band of South African scholars working on medieval and Renaissance themes, and between these and our international guests. We are grateful to Victor for his work as chairman and for his dedication to SASMARS. I am particularly pleased that he will continue in the (probably more onerous) office of editor of the Southern African Journal for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. The 19th Biennial Conference held recently at Mont Fleur testified to the well-being and renewed strength of our Society. Not infrequently in the past we have attempted to attract younger members; sometimes through the introduction of short student papers. This year we were treated to a succession of papers by impressively talented younger scholars - several of whom I had not previously met. Clearly, after the threats of the 1990s, medieval and Renaissance studies are flourishing at local Universities (at least within departments of language and literature). The presence of overseas visitors was perhaps smaller this year than at some recent conferences. But numbers are less important than participation and value added. Susannah Breitz Monta set the scene for a very cohesive conference with her keynote address, and proved a probing interlocutor throughout the entire proceedings. The conference will be remembered for the lively and wide-ranging contributions of Paul Arblaster. To be remembered, also, the colourful cast of Mary Robbins' paper. Finally, one very pleasing characteristic of Mont Fleur was the quality and evenness of the local papers. What I might describe as the local hard core of the Society performed with their customary professionalism (though here I forbear to mention names in the interests of economy and even-handedness). Mont Fleur 2008 establishes a challenging yardstick for Mont Fleur 2010. I would like to attract more overseas scholars to the next conference, though this will be less easy than it was immediately post-1994. We spoke at the annual general meeting of the need to diversify our participants and our themes. In particular, there are many Africanists who are working in areas that could be embraced at our next conference - though these have their own networks, and would need to be coaxed away from their own conference circuits to attend a meeting of SASMARS.
Keynote speaker for the 2010 conference The Council would like to locate as soon as possible a keynote speaker for the 2010 conference. This will facilitate the initial publicizing of our 20th Biennial Conference when the European and North American conference season begins next (northern hemisphere) spring. The availability of a keynote speaker will influence the selection of a conference theme. But the choice of speaker should be informed by the kind of themes that would be attractive to all our diverse membership. It would be very helpful if members would forward suggestions for a broad conference theme. Both theme and keynote speaker will be discussed at the first meeting of the new Council in October.
Please send your proposals to Michael Bratchell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SASMARS 19th Biennial Conference, Mont Fleur, 5-7 September, 2008 Theme: Exchange, Conversation and Confrontation Speakers Keynote: Susannah Breitz Monta (University of Notre Dame, Indiana): Of Papistry and Prayer: Catholic Devotion in Protestant England, ca. 1600 http://homepage.mac.com/schuffelen/dunaval.html
Renaissance Travel Jac Conradie (University of Johannesburg): Confrontations of Attitudes and Ideas Reflected in Adriaen Coenen’s 16th Century Visboecken
Heinrich Ohlhoff (University of Pretoria): 17th Century Dutch Travellers in South Africa
Nick Meihuizen (University of Zululand): Elizabeth Pursued and Pursuing: The Marriage Stakes
Elizabethan Religious History and Literature Timothy Hacksley (Rhodes University) Robert Southwell and Henry Vaux: Poet and Teacher? Arlene Oseman (Wits): Anglo-Italian Conversations: Shakespeare’s Italian Plays
Brian Lee (Cape Town): Deposuit potentes: Nebuchadnezzar, the Emperor Jovinian and King Robert of Sicily—The Growth and Transformations of a Pious Legend
Medieval Studies Mary Robbins (Northeastern University, Boston): The Court of James IV of Scotland and the Mediating of Cultural Exchange in Europe in the Late Middle Ages
This beautiful document has an equally attractive title - it is the Treaty of Perpetual Peace, concluded between Scotland and England in 1502 and cemented by the marriage of James IV of Scotland to Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England, the following year. James and Henry each had a treaty compiled, and they were then exchanged - so this one, although held in the National Archives of Scotland, was written and illuminated by English craftsmen. http://openscotland.gov.uk/News/News-Extras/64 Michele du Plessis-Hay (North West):
Imaging and Imagining Nature: Alanus ab Insulis in the Writings of CS Lewis
Katharine Geldenhuys (Wits): Crossing the Line: Transgression and Communion in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament
Adnan Yaman (Inter-faith Foundation of SA): Islam’s Toleration to the People of the Book
Medieval Studies Michael Bratchel (Wits): Inclusion and Exclusion at the End of the Middle Ages: Christian-Jewish Relations in Late Medieval Italy
Margaret Raftery (University of the Free State): Dramatic Confrontation, Incarnation and Dismemberment http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2007/11/14/beowulf380.jpg Mila Goldberg (UJ): 'Man ne cunnon': The Implications of Hell and Damnation in Beowulf
Candice Kent (Cambridge): The Animal as Human Being in Disguise: From Chaucer to Coetzee
Laurence Wright (Rhodes): Bi-valent Theatre: Umabatha as a Cross-Cultural Phenomenon
Daniel Roux (University of Stellenbosch): ‘A monster in his thought too hideous to be shown': Othello and the postcolonial critics
Paul Arblaster (University of Leuven, Belgium): ‘Chaste’ or ‘Chamberlain’: Tyndale, Coverdale, Joye, and the Anxiety of Translating eunouchos
Victor Houliston (Wits): Shaming and Containing: Robert Persons sets the Rules for Ecclesiastical Tournaments
Chris Thurman (Wits): ‘Tear him for his bad verses’: Shakespeare’s Poets and Poets in South Africa
Notes from the BGM minutes
Office-Bearers (and organising committee for the 2010 biennial conference)
Michael Bratchel (President)
Victor Houliston (Editor: Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies) Leonie Viljoen (Vice President, compiler of the society newsletter)
Pier Paolo Frassinelli
Alistair Henderson (Western Cape)
Timothy Hacksley (Eastern Cape)
Nicholas Meihuizen (KwaZulu-Natal)
Goals and plans Concern was expressed about the lack of diversity in the society membership. The meeting acknowledged that, as the society draws its membership from the pool of Medieval and Renaissance teachers, researchers and graduate students in southern Africa, this reflects the demographic composition within the discipline more broadly, but we also affirmed the desirability of changing this composition. Southern African scholars working on, for example, African history and literature whose research matches the Medieval/Renaissance period, could be approached. Possible recruitment streams were identified: scholars from abroad (electronic postings, such as a CFP on virtual notice boards in the USA); 'special interest' sessions at the next conference; inviting delegates to make poster presentations. An international keynote speaker would be identified without delay; conference planning would be centred around proposed speaker; an historian as keynote speaker would be sought, after a succession of 'literary' keynote speakers at previous conferences, while also encouraging papers from disciplines other than history and literature, e.g. musicology, the visual arts.
The Southern African Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Volume 17 (2007) would be out before January 2009 for funding purposes.
Volume 18 (selected papers from the present conference).
Volume 19 (general submissions).
The meeting thanked Victor Houliston for all his hard work in organising a most successful conference. We also acknowledged the contributions of Jac Conradie and Margaret Raftery over many years, the latter especially for looking after the newsletter. ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM of the Medieval and Renaissance Study Group of the University of Johannesburg 20 August 2008
Theme:War and Peace in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Dr Francois Durand (UJ):Germanic mythology and its influence on Western culture and the Christian religion Burgert Senekal (UV):Interpretations of Beowulf in modern filmThe Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa
In its twenty year history, the Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa has promoted the study, performance and understanding of Shakespeare in a southern African context. The founder of the society was Professor Guy Butler of Rhodes University, who was Honorary Life President until his death in 2001. Currently, the President of the society is Mr. Malcolm Hacksley of the National English Literary Museum and the Honorary Life President is Professor Laurence Wright of Rhodes University. The society has branches in all the major centres throughout the country and has been responsible for several initiatives to improve the teaching of Shakespeare in different educational contexts. The society holds a triennial congress, which normally includes an international conference. Some of the themes of these conferences have been 'Shakespeare Across Cultures', 'Renaissance 2000', 'Shakespeare and Colonialism' and 'The International Spread of Shakespeare'. The society publishes a refereed academic journal, Shakespeare in Southern Africa, edited by Dr. Christopher Thurman of Wits University, as well as a Newsletter and Occasional Papers and Reviews, edited by Hildé Slinger, a past President. The journal publishes articles on a variety of topics related to Shakespeare, including the work of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and includes the work of both South African and overseas scholars. In South Africa, the journal is accredited for subsidy purposes. Anyone interested in contributing should contact the Editor, Dr. Christopher Thurman (Christopher.Thurman@wits.ac.za).
Those interested in finding out about membership, should contact the Administrative Secretary, Professor Eddie Baart (mailto:email@example.com).
The Shakespeare Society of Southern Africa is a project of the Grahamstown Foundation (http://www.foundation.org.za/). The journal is available online through Gale, AJOL, Ebsco, and Sabinet.
Brian PearceThe Southern Hemisphere Spread of Shakespeare Project The project is in a phase of intensive publication. A special section on ‘South African Shakespeare in the Twentieth Century’ for the 2009 Shakespearean International Yearbook is with the publisher, with contributions from Peter Merrington, Victor Houliston, Deborah Seddon, Rohan Quince, Laurence Wright, Robert Gordon, Natasha Distiller and Rebecca Fensome. The volume re-examines high points in the history of Shakespeare in the country during the last century from the vantage point of our new-found, turbulent democracy.
Laurence Wright has completed some work on Nathaniel Merriman and Shakespeare in C19 Grahamstown. ‘Archdeacon Merriman, "Caliban" and the Cattle-killing of 1856-57’ appeared in African Studies 67.2 (2008), and a background article, ‘Cultivating Grahamstown: Nathaniel Merriman, Shakespeare and Books’ appeared in Shakespeare in Southern Africa (SiSA) 20 (2008). Editions of two Merriman’s lectures, edited with considerable help from Victor Houliston and Nic Meihuizen, have been prepared. The first, ‘On the Study of Shakspeare’, was published in SiSA (2008), and the second will appear in next year’s volume.
In addition, a volume of essays on Australasian Shakespeare is in preparation, together with another on the International Spread of Shakespeare.
ISAS Conference at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland, July 26-July 31, 2009.Please see http://www.arts.mun.ca/isas/index.php for more information.
The 44th International Congress on Medieval Studies takes place at Kalamazoo from May 7–10, 2009. See http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/sessions.html for more information.The sixteenth International Medieval Congress will take place in Leeds, from 13-16 July 2009.
To commemorate the 800th anniversary of the launch of the Albigensian Crusade, the International Medieval Congress has the special thematic focus, 'Heresy and Orthodoxy'. http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/imc2009_call.html
CALENDAR OF OTHER MEDIEVAL CONFERENCES IN 2009
An extensive list is posted at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/med_online/calendar2009.html ─ of which a few are included below for your interest:
30th Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum - Dreams, Imagination, Fantasy Plymouth State University, Friday and Saturday 24-25 April 2009
What was the role of the imagination in Medieval and Early Modern culture? Was 'fantasy' distinguishable from 'reality'? How did people talk about and experience dreams? Papers need not be confined to the theme, but may cover many aspects of Medieval and Renaissance life, literature, languages, art, philosophy, theology, history and music. Student sessions welcome. http://www.plymouth.edu/medieval/ Dr. Karolyn Kinane, Director (firstname.lastname@example.org). Medieval Studies, Dept. of English MSC, 40 Plymouth State University Plymouth, NH 03264. Abstract deadline 15 January 2009; presenters and early registration 15 March 2009.
14th International Saga Conference, Uppsala, 9-15 August 2009. Details at http://www.saga.nordiska.uu.se/.
Reading Conference in Early Modern Studies 2009 Authority and Authorities 6-8 July 2009 Proposals for either papers or panels should be sent by email to the chairman of the Conference Committee, Professor Richard Hoyle, email@example.com by 31 January 2009. Proposals are especially welcome from postgraduates. The conference hopes to make some money available for postgraduate bursaries. Anyone for whom some financial assistance is a sine qua non for their attendance should mention this when submitting their proposal. http://earlymodern-lit.blogspot.com/2008/09/reading-university-conference-in-early.html.Invitation to subscribe to the Tabula Gratulatoria of "ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF SHEILA DELANY," co-edited by Christa Canitz and Andrew Taylor, forthcoming as a special issue of Florilegium, the journal of the Canadian Society of Medievalists/Société canadienne des médiévistes.
Sheila was a plenary speaker at the conference of the South African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Pretoria, in 1994 and again in 2002. Contents • A. E. CHRISTA CANITZ & ANDREW TAYLOR, Introduction • SUZANNE CONKLIN AKBARI, 'Making Substantial Connections: A Critical Appreciation of Sheila Delany'
Photo by Phil Maloney
GENDER STUDIES • GLENN BURGER, 'Labouring to Make the Good Wife Good in the "journées chrétiennes" and "Le Menagier de Paris"' • BRENDA M. HOSINGTON, 'Translation, Early Printing, and Gender in England, 1484-1535' • LILIANA SIKORSKA, 'Between Autohagiography and Confession: Generic Concerns and the Question of Female Self-Representation in Anna Maria Marchocka's "Mystical Autobiography"' • RHODA L. FRIEDRICHS, 'The Remarriage of Elite Widows in the Later Middle Ages' MANUSCRIPT STUDIES • KATHRYN KERBY-FULTON, 'English Joachite Manuscripts and Medieval Optimism about the Role of the Jews in History: A List for Future Studies' • A. S. G. EDWARDS, 'The Authorship of the Poems of Laurence Minot: A Reconsideration' JEWISH STUDIES • ROBERT A. DAUM, '"Verbal Wronging": An Analysis of Harmful/Malicious Speech Banned in Bava Metzi'a 4:10' • TOVA ROSEN, 'Love and Race in a Thirteenth-Century Romance in Hebrew, with a Translation of "The Story of Maskil and Peninah" by Jacob Ben El'azar' POST-MEDIEVAL STUDIES • LAWRENCE BESSERMAN, '"Imitatio Christi" in the Later Middle Ages and in Contemporary Film: Three Paradigms' • STEPHEN KNIGHT, 'Robin Hood and the Crusades: When and Why did the Longbowman of the People Mount up Like a Lord?' • DAVID GAY, '"Sion's Songs": Milton, the Psalms, and Counter-Tradition' • JANOS M. BAK, 'Political Uses of Historical Comparisons: Medieval and Modern Hungary' Subscribers will receive the book at a special pre-publication price of $30 (instead of the regular $35), and their names will be listed in the Tabula Gratulatoria. The volume is scheduled to appear in December 2008. DEADLINE FOR INCLUSION OF YOUR NAME IN THE TABULA GRATULATORIA: 31 OCTOBER 2008.TO ORDER Please send a cheque for $30 (Canadian or US funds), or an international money order in Canadian funds, to the order of "Florilegium" to: Professor Christa Canitz, Editor, Florilegium Department of English, University of New Brunswick, 19 Macaulay Lane, Fredericton, NB Canada E3B 5A3 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Indicate your name (in exactly the form you wish it to appear in the book): forename (and/or initials) and surname, the delivery address for your copy (full mailing address, including country and postal code), your email address so that we can acknowledge receipt.
Invitation from Heide Estes
Report:(Anglo-Saxon) Work in Progress : Please let me know what scholarly work you have in progress? I will compile all of the information into a report to be published in the Old English Newsletter. You can email me directly at email@example.com or report your work in progress via a web form located here:http://www.oenewsletter.org/OEN/RIP.php. Please pass this message on to students and colleagues who aren't on the ANSAX-L, the Chaucer or the ISAS lists.
Catholic Resistance in Elizabethan England Robert Persons's Jesuit Polemic, 1580–1610 Victor Houliston, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
October 2007 234 x 156 mm 234 pages Hardback 978-0-7546-5840-5 £55.00 During his lifetime, the Jesuit priest Robert Persons (1546–1610) was arguably the leading figure fighting for the reestablishment of Catholicism in England. Whilst his colleague Edmund Campion may now be better known it was Persons's tireless efforts that kept the Jesuit mission alive during the difficult days of Elizabeth's reign. In this new study, Person's life and phenomenal literary output are analysed and put into the broader context of recent Catholic scholarship. The book bridges the gap between historical studies, on the one hand, and literary studies on the other, by concentrating on Persons's contribution as a writer to the polemical culture of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
As well as discussing his wider achievements as leader of the English Jesuits – founding three seminaries for English priests, corresponding regularly with Catholic activists in England, writing over thirty books, holding the post of rector of the English College in Rome, and being a trusted consultant to the papacy on English affairs – this study looks in detail at what is arguably his greatest legacy, The First Booke of the Christian Exercise (more commonly known as the Book of Resolution). That book, first published in 1582, was to prove the cornerstone of Persons's missionary effort, and a popular work of Catholic devotion, running to several editions over the coming years.
Although Persons was ultimately unsuccessful in his ambition to return England to the Catholic fold, the story of his life and works reveals much about the ecclesiastical struggle that gripped early modern Europe. By providing a thorough and up-to-date reassessment of Persons this study not only makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the polemical context of post-Reformation Catholicism, but also of the Jesuit notion of the 'apostolate of writing'.
Contents Preface; The legend of Father Parsons; The English mission: writing The Christian Directory; The Spanish connection: satirizing Burghley: The myth of England's Catholic destiny: Persons's political vision; Reclaiming the past: combating Foxe and Coke; A Jesuit apologia: appellant abuse; Making England safe for Catholicism: liberty of conscience under James; Mastering the polemical scene; Appendix – a chronology of Persons's printed works, 1580–1622; Bibliography; Index. About the Author: Victor Houliston is Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. www.ashgate.com/isbn/9780754658405
Lynn Forest-Hill (Hardcover - 1 Aug 2008)
Some of the contributors to this volume are well known, others are new members of the academic research community. The contributors are: Amy Amendt-Raduege; Maria Raffaella Benvenuto; Jessica Burke; Michael Cunningham; Romuald Lakowski; Kristine Larsen; Reno Lauro; Rainer Nagel; Julie Pridmore; Shandi Stevenson. The topics covered include the moral significance of spiders; Icelandic traditions concerning Barrows and their inhabitants; thresholds and their association with conflict; dragons; wolves; geomythology. (Source: http://www.tolkiensociety.org/ed/hall_of_fire_00.html)
Medieval Lucca And the Evolution of the Renaissance State 2008 M. E. Bratchel ISBN13: 9780199542901ISBN10: 0199542902 Hardback, 272 pages, 6 maps Price:$130.00 (06) Description Although there are many books in English on the city and state of Lucca, this is the first scholarly study to cover the history of the entire region from classical antiquity to the end of the fifteenth century. At one level, it is an archive-based study of a highly distinctive political community; at another, it is designed as a contribution to current discussions on power-structures, the history of the state, and the differences between city-states and the new territorial states that were emerging in Italy by the fourteenth century.
There is a rare consensus among historians on the characteristic features of the Italian city-state: essentially the centralization of economic, political, and juridical power on a single city and in a single ruling class. Thus defined, Lucca retained the image of an old-fashioned, old-style city-republic right through until the loss of political independence in 1799. No consensus exists with regard to the defining qualities of the Renaissance state. Was it centralized or de-centralized; intrusive or non-interventionist? The new regional states were all these things. And the comparison with Lucca is complicated and nuanced as a result.
Lucca ruled over a relatively large city territory, in part a legacy from classical antiquity. Lucca was distinctive in the pervasive power exercised over its territory (largely a legacy of the region's political history in the early and central middle ages). In consequence, the Lucchese state showed a marked continuity in its political organization, and precociousness in its administrative structures. The qualifications relate to practicalities and resources. The coercive powers and bureaucratic aspirations of any medieval state were distinctly limited, whilst Lucca's capacity for independent action was increasingly circumscribed by the proximity (and territorial enclaves) of more powerful and predatory neighbours.
It is with great sadness that SASMARS announces that Prof Barrie Goedhals passed away this September after a long illness. Barrie Goedhals was one of the first professors in Unisa’s Department of English. Some of his fellow professors were Ridley Beeton, Shirley Kossick, Leon Hugo, Ted Harty and Ernest Pereira. He will be fondly remembered for his valuable contribution to the life and work of the department during his long and distinguished career at the university. As a teacher in many areas of English Studies but especially in Old and Middle English he inspired and encouraged his students in their love of the language and its literature. In 1991 he delivered the keynote address at the biennial conference of the Unisa Medieval Association titled ‘Maldon Revisited’. Barrie will be remembered fondly as a valued teacher, friend and colleague.
These were two of Barrie's lovely sketches
©Leonie Viljoen 2008
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