Classical Heroines Conference

Event Date: 
05 Jun 2015


5 June 2015

at the Warburg Institute, London

Organisers: Susan Haskins (Independent Scholar), Jill Kraye (Warburg Institute) and Raphaële Mouren (Warburg Institute)

For centuries the classical heroine has featured prominently in literature and art, but who exactly was she, where did she come from and what was her significance for subsequent generations? What did female heroism consist of, and how did it differ from that of the male? To what extent is she a construct of the male imagination, which seeks to control rather than celebrate female virtues? As protagonists of tragedies, heroines commit terrible crimes, are murderesses and suicides, and reach heroic stature through suffering: they are also queens, city foundresses, exemplary mothers, wives and widows, warriors and women of wisdom. As this past year has shown, the classical heroine in the form of Medea, Electra and Antigone demonstrates just how much power she continues to exert today in her theatrical transformations. This one-day colloquium explores some of these heroines and their afterlives.


11:00 Registration and Coffee

11:30 Welcome

11:35  Elisabeth Dutton (Fribourg): ‘Dido in Oxford: Gender and Politics in Elizabethan University Drama’

12:05   Letizia Panizza (Royal Holloway College, University of London): ‘Three Controversial Heroines: Lucretia, Camma, Hypatia’

12:35  Discussion

1:00  Lunch

2:15  Susan Haskins (Independent):  ‘Three Roman Heroines:  Hasdrubal’s Wife, Pompeia Paulina and Zenobia’ (provisional title)

2.45  Emma Barker (Open University): ‘The Sentimentalization of the Classical Heroine in Eighteenth-Century Art’

3:15  Discussion 

3:40  Tea

4:15 Isobel Hurst (Goldsmith’s College):  ‘“This Balance of Principles, This Antagonism between Valid Claims”:  Victorian Women Writers and Antigone’

4:45 Frank McGuinness (University College Dublin): ‘Women and War: Troy and the Aftermath’

5:15 Concluding Discussion

5:40    Reception

To register and pay online please visit:

Price (including lunch and refreshments) – Standard rate: £25.00; concessions (retired/students): £12.50


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