Public debate
French language

Marielle Macé

For me, the political challenge is to prove not that every life is unique, but that every life is equal, should be equal to any other life (...). My literary work goes hand in hand with this belief in equality.

A specialist in French literature, Marielle Macé uses its concepts to understand today's world and proposes an elegant interpretation of our ways of life.

Published on 03/04/2019

2 min

Born in 1973, Marielle Macé enrolled at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1993, then obtaining a higher-education certification in French language and literature three years later. After a PhD thesis on "L’essai littéraire en France au XXe siècle” (“The literary essay in France in the twentieth century”), defended at the Paris IV University in 2002, she joined the Centre for Research on the Arts and Language, of which she soon became Deputy Director.

She teaches at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and is a co-founder of Fabula, a website which has been dedicated for over fifteen years to research on literature, whose scientific responsibility she oversees.

After looking at the essay genre (The Time of the Essay (“Le Temps de l’essai”), 2006) and the experience of the modern reader (Ways of Reading, Ways of Being (“Façons de lire, manières d’être”), 2011), Marielle Macé’s work began to focus on style (Styles. Critique of our ways of life (“Styles. Critique de nos formes de vie”), 2016) and has led to a renewal of the concept. Because, for Marielle Macé, style goes far beyond the scope of literature to shed light on the “how” of our individual and collective actions: the author studies our lifestyles, and invites tolerance by refusing the idea that one way of being should prevail over another. In her opinion, the interest of style lies rather in its singularity.

More recently, Marielle Macé chose, in Shocking, Considering (“Sidérer, considerer”) (2017), to use literature’s resources as a way of questioning our views on migrants and refugees: how can we accurately describe these abused lives that shock us and how can we rightly move from shock to consideration?

An internationally-respected researcher, Marielle Macé is now an associate lecturer at the University of New York, and also regularly works in Europe. Her work always leaves the door open to a multidisciplinary and international dialogue, where literature and social sciences meet.

Ways of reading, Ways of Being (2011), wherein the researcher studies the impact of everyday reading on the building of our personal identity and our relationship with the world, has been translated into Italian, Chinese, Romanian and partially into English.

 Marielle Macé's interview about Shocking, Considering  (Sidérer, considérer) 2017
Marielle Macé's interview about Shocking, Considering (Sidérer, considérer) 2017
  • 1993


    Marielle Macé passes the entrance exam for the prestigious École Normale Supérieure.

  • 2000


    Marielle Macé co-founds the collaborative site fabula.org of which she has scientific, technical and facilitating responsibility. Very quickly, the website dealing with literature becomes a top point of reference in this area.

  • 2002


    Marielle Macé defends her PhD thesis on "L’Essai littéraire en France au XXe siècle".

  • 2016


    Marielle Macé writes Styles. A critique of our ways of life, published by Gallimard, where she explores one of the founding themes of her research: our ways of being define a style, which in turn defines our behaviours and ways of doing things.

  • 2017


    Marielle Macé publie Sidérer, considérer, un texte lumineux où elle s'interroge de manière très franche sur le regard de nos sociétés envers les migrants et réfugiés qui peuplent les rues ou les centres d'accueil.

The Institut français and the intellectual

Marielle Macé is part of “New French Intellectual Arenas” supported by the Institut français.


She notably spoke at the 25th January 2018 Night of Ideas, on the theme "Imagination in Power".

L'institut français, LAB