BYLINE: Wilhelm Snyman
THE study of the Humanities, and Italian studies in South Africa in particular, was dealt a severe blow this week with the passing - after prolonged illness - of Professor Nelia (Cornelia) Saxby, Associate Professor of Italian Language and Literature at UCT.
One of Cape Town's most accomplished and colourful academics, Saxby was responsible for the establishment of Italian studies at UCT in 1970, elevating the study of Italian to a fully fledged under-graduate course and post-graduate degree courses.
A National Research Foundation-rated researcher and internationally renowned scholar, in 2007 she was awarded the Cavaliere nell'ordine della stella di solidarieta italiana (Knight in the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity) in recognition of her contribution to the diffusion of Italian culture in South Africa and as a philologist.
Saxby's research interests included culture and civilisation of the Northern Italian courts, applied historical linguistics, textual criticism and palaeography relating to the 15th century. She published monographs on Raniero Almerici da Pesaro, Francesco Palmario of Ancona and Giovanni dei Mantelli di Canobio as well as numerous peer-reviewed articles ranging from Dante, Petrarch, Lorenzo dei Medici and Tasso to the famed Grey Collection of 15th century manuscripts housed at the National Library in Cape Town as well as critical editions, including the work of Matteo Luigi Canonici (1727-c. …