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Durham University

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Dr Marc Schachter, MA, PhD University of California

Associate Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44344
Room number: ER282, Elvet Riverside II

Contact Dr Marc Schachter (email at

I trained as a comparatist at UCLA (MA) and UCSC (PhD) focusing on early modern French, Italian and English literatures as well as classics. Since then, my research and teaching have primarily focused on sixteenth-century French literature and culture with the classical tradition and medieval and Renaissance Italian literature as secondary specializations. Diverse concerns and approaches including gender and sexuality studies, queer theory, the cultural politics of translation, reception studies, textual criticism, manuscript circulation and book history shape my scholarship. 

My first book, Voluntary Servitude and the Erotics of Friendship: From Classical Antiquity to Early Modern France, focused on the writings, translations, and editorial practices of Étienne de La Boétie, Michel de Montaigne and Marie de Gournay, frequently in dialogue with Foucault on governmentality and the care of the self and Derrida on the gendered politics of friendship. Other publications have considered the textual tradition and early circulation of La Boétie's Servitude volontaire, Renaissance translations of classical works on love and friendship, gender in Italian epic, Marguerite de Navarre on friendship, the reception of Apuleius' The Golden Ass, and medieval and humanist commentaries glossing passages about sex between women in Martial and Juvenal. My current book project, “The Uses of Desire in Early Modern France and Italy,” reflects further on the role played by the classical tradition in the development of discourses around sex in the early modern period and beyond. 

Since arriving at Durham in 2014, I have pursued a series of collaborations. With Dr. Laura Campbell, I co-organized a conference on medieval and Renaissance “Franco-Italian Interfaces.” A conference on the early print and manuscript circulation of La Boétie’s On Voluntary Servitude co-organized with Professor John O'Brien led to a forthcoming volume, La première circulation de la Servitude volontaire en France et au-delà. A broader, ongoing collaboration with Professor O’Brien focuses on the European circulation of seditious literature in the early modern period. A third project, with Professor Jennifer Ingleheart of Classics, considers translations of texts from Greek and Roman antiquity and the history of sexuality.

I have been involved in the supervision of MA and PhD dissertations focusing on a range of topics including queer Genet, disability in medieval French and Italian literature, women writers in the French Renaissance, eco-criticism in Shakespearian England, and, currently, the writings of Hervé Guibert as well as queer and crip bodies in 17th century French cabaret poetry. 

Office hours

I am on research leave for the 2018-2019 academic year and thus not holding regular office hours.

Research Interests

  • Early Modern French Literature and Culture
  • Early modern seditious literature
  • History of the Book
  • Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature
  • Sexuality and Gender Studies
  • Textual Editing and Commentaries
  • The Classical Tradition
  • Translation Studies

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

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Selected Grants

  • 2010: Mellon Fellowship, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC
  • 2009: Faculty Fellow, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Institute for the Arts and Humanities
  • 2009: Francesco De Dombrowski Fellow, Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies
  • 2007: Franklin Grant, American Philosophical Society