Laurence Marie

Laurence Marie

Research interests
18th Century; History of Emotions; European Theater, Philosophy, and the Arts; Colonial Theater; 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 the aesthetic and political issues related to so-called “primitivism”. It concentrates on the representation of extreme passions on stage, in relation to a shifting conception of “primitivism”, as incarnated by models such as the Ancients, Shakespeare, women, and “savage” characters from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas. Starting in the 18th century, I intend to show how the stage representations of primitive emotions evolved up to the present under the influence of renewed conceptions of the mind and the body.


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), The French Review (vol. 93, n°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 (vol. 21, 2021)

Forthcoming reviews in 2021 in Eighteenth Century Studies, Revue Dix-huitième siècle, Double jeu, Drammaturgia, and Rassegna della letteratura italiana.

In Inventer l’acteurI 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), S. Chaouche and L. Marie eds. 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

I have written roughly 30 articles published in, among other places, Diderot StudiesStudies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth CenturyRestoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre ResearchLittératures classiques, Revue des sciences humaines, and PMLA.

Here are my most recent publications:
“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, 2021:03, pp. 139-165

“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 Century), European Drama and Performance Studies, 2021/2, n° 17

 “The making of French neo-classical tragedy and the invention of modern performance” in H. Bilis and E. McClure eds. Options for Teaching French Neo-Classical TragedyPMLA, forthcoming in 2021

"Figaro à Saint-Domingue", in Mélanges, forthcoming in 2021

“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 2021

Othello à Paris, ou les scandales en série ?” in B. Filippi, F. Lecercle, L. Norman and C. Thouret eds. Théâtre et scandale, in Fabula, « Colloques en ligne », Sept. 2020

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

L’entrée de Shakespeare au répertoire de la Comédie-Française” in C. Biet ed. Littératures classiques 2018/1, n°95: “La question du répertoire au théâtre”, pp. 181-190

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

“’Juger le procès entre la tragédie de Londres et la tragédie de Paris’: Shakespeare contre le modèle tragique français ?”, in F. Lecercle and C. Thouret eds. La Haine de Shakespeare, Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, coll. E-Theatrum mundi, 2017

Shakespeare et l’esthétique du tableau au xviiie siècle” in B. Louvat-Molozay and F. March eds. Les théâtres anglais et français (xvie-xviiie siècle). Contacts, circulation, influences, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2016, pp. 127-136