Sparagmos: A Journal of Women’s Violence in Classics and the Arts

Launched in October 2016, By Jove Theatre Company is currently in the midst of ‘A Season of Violent Women’: three stories of violent women from myth and history. The season opened with Margaret of Anjou, a ‘new’ play by Shakespeare charting the rise and fall of the she-wolf of France during the War of the Roses and the violent acts which accompanied her position of power. A change of genre brings Here She Comes, a one-woman epic poem rooted in the Bacchae that showcases violence as purpose and liberation. Finally, we land on the paradigm of women’s violence in Greek myth, Medea, whose actions seem to subvert everything that is expected of a woman and a mother.


For a feminist theatre company such as By Jove to present these tales of women who commit such violent acts may raise questions. Are these women feminist? Are they feminist icons? Do feminists wish to perpetrate violence? Against men? Is our portrayal of them sympathetic? If so, do we condone their actions?


SPARAGMOS is a place to discuss those, and other, questions. Each month, we will release an article drawing on the themes surrounding the season. Some articles will focus closely on the texts which inspire these new works; others will take a more broad approach to the concept of women’s violence, both in classical literature and history, and in the arts up to the present day. Authors will come from a variety of fields and research interests, and will combine academic and practice-based approaches to the subject. Each article will provide a brief bibliography allowing for further reading.


The purpose of this journal is to situate By Jove’s work throughout the season in an academic, discursive context, and to shed light on some of the theory which goes into creating our new writing. It aims to provide a thought-provoking extension to the performances themselves, and encourage the issues raised within the stories to be considered and applied more broadly. These issues are nuanced and complex, and, as we have seen, they raise questions; here, we hope that a variety of voices will, if not answer, then consider these questions in depth and shed light on some of their more obscure angles.


We hope you enjoy reading SPARAGMOS, and watching By Jove’s ‘Season of Violent Women’.



February – “Why violent women?” by Christine Plastow



Series Editor Christine Plastow (@chrissieplastow) holds a PhD in Classics from University College London, and is By Jove Theatre Company’s research and education co-ordinator. She teaches ancient Greek and academic writing skills at UCL, and conducts research on ancient Athenian law and oratory.

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