Saviana Stănescu’s Barbarian women: the Empire Writes Back to Ovid

Holly Ranger

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This article discusses the Romanian playwright Saviana Stănescu and her continued engagement with the works of Ovid, tracking the feminist methodology which links her varied work. While Ovid’s self-definition against the ‘barbarian others’ he encounters in Tomis is crucial to an understanding of the exile poetry, in a postcolonial world the ideologically loaded nature of the term barbarus must be recognized, and its use and replication in modern translations and receptions interrogated. Characterized by an astute critical awareness and a committed political engagement, Stănescu’s classical receptions draw out the damaging real-world consequences for a people labelled ‘barbarians’. Her work offers a defence of the reviled Black Sea inhabitants of Ovid’s exilic poems by providing a critique of the colonial representations of the ‘barbarians’ therein, and exposing the power mechanisms of ancient and contemporary imperialism alike.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-356
JournalClassical Receptions Journal
Issue number3
Early online date3 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


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