ANZAMEMS is delighted to advise researchers that the latest issue of the Association’s journal Parergon is now out. Issue 36.1 features 7 original research articles and over 40 book reviews. ANZAMEMS members will receive their print copies by post in the coming weeks. Digital content is available via Project MUSE, Australian Public Affairs – Full Text (Informit) and Humanities Full Text.
The research articles in issue Parergon 36.1 cover a breadth of medieval and early modern topics and disciplines:
Brows of Grace, Nerves of Steel: Malcolm and Macbeth
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the legibility of a butcher’s designs is succeeded by the monstrous virtue of his replacement Malcolm, who artfully confuses the social world’s assumptions and habits, its ways of recognizing authority and punishing sin. This article explores Malcolm’s powers in terms of a new politics equally expert at manufacturing fear and imitating grace, with reference to witchcraft trials and to analogues provided by Rembrandt and Hobbes. It also considers theories about the workings of this new politics supplied by social scientists, concluding that Malcolm’s strategies for unleashing evil and its remedy similarly sequester and obscure people from each other.
The Enigmatic Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: Fresh Insights from Assemblage Theory
The sumptuous Sutton Hoo ship-burial has been much debated since it was discovered nearly eighty years ago, but there is no consensus on its interpretation. Assemblage theory, with its focus on the linkages between people, places, and objects, and the related concept of ‘fittingness’, may provide an alternative explanation that accounts for this ship-burial as both archaeological site and historical event. This article suggests that this ship-burial was a deliberate strategy to cohere and transmit secular political power across the hazardous liminal space between death and succession in troubled times in early seventh-century East Anglia, after the death of King Rædwald.
Language and Thought in Hildegard of Bingen’s Visionary Trilogy: Close and Distant Readings of a Thinker’s Development
Jeroen De Gussem and Dinah Wouters
By combining the methods of distant reading (computational stylistics) and close reading, the authors discuss the development of language and thought in Hildegard of Bingen’s visionary works (Sciuias, Liber uite meritorum and Liber diuinorum operum). The visionary trilogy, although written over the course of three decades, raises the impression of a monolithic and seemingly unchanging voice. Moving beyond this impression, the interdisciplinary analysis presented here reveals that the trilogy exhibits interesting differences at the word level which cannot simply be explained through external historical circumstances (e.g. manuscript transmission or different secretaries). Instead, the results raise pertinent questions regarding the trilogy’s internal development in didactic method, style, and philosophy.
John Harrison: A Case Study of the Acculturation of an Early Modern Briton
The important role that the Mediterranean played in England’s development as an imperial power in the early modern period has begun to be appreciated, but more work is required to properly historicize the interactions which occurred during this time and understand their impact. This article argues that to do this it is necessary to move beyond generalized interpretations and examine the impact of encounter at the individual level. Moreover, through examining the experiences of one such sojourner, it demonstrates how a focus on acculturative change can provide novel insights into the consequences of historical encounters between European and non-European peoples.
John Milton’s Samson Agonistes: Deathly Selfhood
Critical attention to death in Samson Agonistes has been dominated by the question of whether Milton’s drama glorified acts of religious terrorism, a question that involves death but unnecessarily narrows it. I seek to reframe our understanding of Samson by looking not only at his aggressive exploits, but also at his movement towards death. The poem illuminates Samson’s development of what I call a ‘deathly selfhood’, which relies on an interior awareness of who he is, rather than on an outward manifestation of his abilities, and only becomes available to him as he nears death.
Mealtime Sanctity: The Devotional and Social Significance of Mealtimes in The Book of Margery Kempe
This article argues that mealtimes in The Book of Margery Kempe establish Margery’s orthodoxy and demonstrate her sanctity. Mealtimes provide Margery with a sufficiently flexible boundary between private and public for her to express her devotion and reach out to people without incriminating herself as a heretic. Medieval mealtimes, symbolizing community and hierarchy, enable Margery to express her sanctity and be accepted by respected figures. As a result, mealtimes allow Margery’s ministry to succeed at a time of religious dissent.
The Eastern Policy of Alfonso V the Magnanimous (of Aragon), Seen in the Light of His Political Relations with the Bosnian Duke-Herzog Stjepan Vukčić Kosača
This article re-assesses political relations between Alfonso V the Magnanimous (r. 1416–58), King of Aragon, Sicily, and Naples, and the Bosnian duke-herzog Stjepan Vukčić Kosača (r. 1435–66), analysing the period between Alfonso V’s conquest of Naples in 1442 until his death in 1458. It considers political developments in the Eastern Adriatic, particularly relations between Alfonso and Stjepan, and the policies that the king, as ruler of Naples, pursued toward the east, in order to argue that Alfonso’s activities in the Balkans were mainly intended to disrupt the interests of Venice and to solidify his rule over southern Italy.
Parergon welcomes article submissions on all aspects of medieval and early modern studies. We are especially interested in material that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries and takes new approaches. For more information and submission guidelines, visit the Parergon website.