War-Widow, Mother, Slave, Refugee: Andromache in Romantic Europe

Benjamin West. 'Hector taking leave of Andromache: The Fright of Astyanax' 1766 (detail)
Benjamin West. ‘Hector taking leave of Andromache: The Fright of Astyanax’ 1766 (detail)


Andromache is hardly a household name today, but in Romantic-era Europe this Trojan princess and Greek captive was a popular figure, and indeed a figure of popular culture – appearing in operas, plays, ladies’ fashion magazines, life-writing, oil paintings and cheap satirical prints, on porcelain, earthenware, clocks and fans, and even popping up in the shipping news. What drew Enlightenment and Romantic audiences to Andromache, and whatever happened to her in later periods? Dr Stanyon’s project explores these questions, showing how Andromache was represented and deployed to shape the literature, politics and culture of Romantic-era Europe. Andromache emerges as a powerful – if not always straightforward – resource for nations facing crisis and change, shedding light on histories of war and emotions, gendered violence, refugees and migration.


Dr Miranda Stanyon