Laurence Marie

Laurence Marie

Research interests

18th Century; History of Emotions; Acting Theory; Colonial Theater; Theater and the Arts; Reception of Shakespeare

I hold an ‘agrégation de Lettres modernes’ and a Ph.D. in Comparative literature from La Sorbonne University in Paris. Prior to coming to New York, I taught French and comparative literature for 10 years in French universities, mostly at La Sorbonne. Between 1999 and 2014, I was a member of the journal Labyrinthe. Atelier interdisciplinaire (and its co-director from 2004 to 2007). I was a freelance writer for the weeklies Le Nouvel ObservateurElle Magazine and Le Monde des livres. And I worked for 3.5 years as a speech writer and advisor to the French Minister of European Affairs, and of Higher Education and Research.

In 2012, I came to New York to lead of the Book and Ideas department at the French Embassy in the United States, promoting French and Francophone writers nationwide. I curated a year-long Proust festival, helped create Albertine French bookstore, coordinated several yearly French-American Albertine festivals, helped organize an exhibition on Francophone graphic novels at Cooper Union, and organized the first Night of Philosophy in the U.S.  

In 2016, when my four-year diplomatic appointment came to an end, I was recruited at Columbia Department of French. I also taught philosophy, 18th-Century and contemporary literature classes at New York University (Tisch School of the Arts and Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture).

My current research project deals with how female “savages” (and the wild nature surrounding them) were staged in 18th century theater and visual arts, and in particular how the representations of the Renaissance and early modern encounters between female natives and French settlers (in Canada, the Caribbean, and Africa) contributed to build and intertwine gender and racial stereotypes.



Inventer l’acteur. Emotions et spectacle dans l’Europe des Lumières, 480 pages, 25 color illustrations (Sorbonne Université Presses, 2019, 26 euros)

Reviewed in Le Monde des livres (03/28/2019), Le Nouvel Observateur (05/09/2019), La Vie des idées (09/23/2021), The French Review (93/4, May 2020), French Studies (07/29/2020), Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies (Sept. 2020), Revue d’histoire littéraire de la France (2020, n° 4), H-France Review (March 2021), Double jeu (n° 17, May 2021), Revue Dix-huitième siècle (2021/1, n° 53), Ação : Arte do Ator em revivista (2021, 1/1, July 1, 2021)

Forthcoming reviews in Eighteenth Century Studies, Drammaturgia, and Rassegna della letteratura italiana

In Inventer l’acteur, I recount the steps that led to the emergence of stage performance’s first theories in the Eighteenth Century. I analyze the shift from declamation to a more visual, body-centered type of performance, at a time when theater was the main form of entertainment. I show how acting was a laboratory for Enlightenment ideas about the relationships between nature, works of art and the audience. By focusing on the body and emotions, acting theory challenged the classical imitation of passions in favor of a more direct expression of emotions. These bold experiments opened the pathways that would be continued by modern theories of performance and the arts. They also constituted a revolutionary exploration of individual identity through a new focus on the living body, and the elevation of acting to an art form and actors and actresses to full citizens.

Collective Volumes 

Emotions Hit the Stage (16th-21st Century), eds with S. Chaouche. European Drama and Performance Studies, 2021/2, n° 17

Book chapter about drama translations in Histoire des traductions en langue française. XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles, Verdier, 2014, pp. 855-948 (with co-coordinator C. Lechevalier)

Conference proceedings : Réécritures du crime. L’acte sanglant sur la scène, in Littératures classiques, n°67, 2008/3 (with F. Lecercle and Z. Schweitzer)

Journal : Revues, modes d’emploi, in Labyrinthe, n° 31 (with P. Savy)

Edition of Theater Plays

Deux courtes pièces autour du mariage : Feydeau – Labiche, GF Étonnants classiques, n°10356

Marivaux, La Double Inconstance, GF Étonnants classiques, n°10336

Most recent articles

Approx. 30 articles published in the field of 18th century theater and European history of aesthetic ideas in French, American and British journals (in French and English)

On Colonial Theater in the Atlantic World

  • “Talks about theater in Saint-Domingue’s Affiches américaines (1766-1791): a public voice on a public space?” in J. Leichman and K. Bénac-Giroux eds. Colonialism and Slavery in Performance: Theatre and the eighteenth-century French Caribbean, Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, Liverpool UP, 2021, pp. 139-165
  • “Voltaire sous les Tropiques : la réception de Voltaire sur les scènes coloniales de Saint-Domingue”, Revue Voltaire, 21, forthcoming in January 2022
  • “Figaro à Saint-Domingue”, in Les Lumières du théâtre. Avec Pierre Frantz, Classiques Garnier, forthcoming in 2022

On Visual Performance and Emotions

  • “The making of French neo-classical tragedy and the invention of modern performance” in H. Bilis and E. McClure eds. Teaching French Neo-Classical TragedyPMLA, Options for Teaching 55, 2021, p. 117-131.
  • “La sensibilité féminine, modèle pour la réforme du théâtre au xviiie siècle?” in S. Chaouche and L. Marie eds. Emotions Hit the Stage - 16th-21st CenturyEuropean Drama and Performance Studies, 2021/2, n° 17, p. 203-224
  • “La rhétorique ou l’éloquence: l’orateur, l’acteur et les émotions de la Révolution française” in R. Bret-Vitoz and T. Julian eds. Révolution, théâtre et émotions, forthcoming in 2022
  • La critique morale, aliment de la théorie esthétique: la Lettre à d’Alembert sur les spectacles et le Paradoxe sur le comédien”, in F. Lecercle and C. Thouret eds. Littératures classiques 2019/1, n°98: “La Haine du théâtre, Controverses et polémiques”, pp. 185-195
  • Sculpture antique et théorie du jeu tragique” in M. Fazio, P. Frantz, V. De Santis eds. Les Arts du spectacle et la référence antique dans le théâtre européen (1760-1830), Garnier, 2018, pp. 247-261

On the reception of Shakespeare


Podcast "Les enquêtes du Louvre", Lady Macbeth Sleepwalking by Fuseli,  Louvre, January 2022 

Qu'est-ce que la promotion du livre?, Radio France Internationale, March 2014

La Dispute in New York: littérature, Radio France Culture, May 2, 2014 

"Mais bien sûr que si, les livres français se vendent à l'étranger!", Bibliobs, Le Nouvel Observateur, 2013

"La littérature française a-t-elle la cote aux Etats-Unis?" BFM TV, Le Grand journal de New York, 2013