Portrait of Clara Manco, Maître de Conference in British Litterature at Larca since September 2023

Posted on October 12, 2023

Clara Manco is Maître de Conference in British Litterature at Larca since September 2023, she introduces us to her research themes.

What did you do before you arrived at LARCA ?

My trajectory has been a fairly traditional one: preparatory classes, ENS then agrégation (a French competitive teaching certification). There were a few changes of direction before I fell in love with 17th- and 18th-century English literature, which is now my specialty area. As an early career academic, I have had one foot in the UK and the other in France since 2015, teaching at the University of Cambridge for five years, and returning to Paris to join LARCA this September.

What has your research focused on so far ?

My doctoral research focused on the question of the politics of laughter in the 17th century: what did contemporary audiences laugh about after the bitter conflict of the Civil Wars? What forms of humour developed? How and why were tensions renegotiated on the comic stage in a still deeply divided society? I am also interested in these questions today, where the political role of satire is being redefined. I am currently working on publishing my thesis as a monograph, in addition to articles on the memory of the Civil Wars and on gender in the early modern period based on that aspect of my work. I am looking forward to collaborating with the Early Modernities group, and hope to contribute to other research axes at LARCA.

What aspect of your research would you like to develop at LARCA ?

The next step is to connect my research on laughter with the history of medicine and emotions. In the comical texts I work on, especially those written for the stage, the question of melancholy is, perhaps counter-intuitively, a recurring one: this observation led me to study the history of laughter through the lens of the black bile, and to explore the intimate connections between these two seemingly opposing emotions in the long eighteenth century. LARCA has a brilliant history in the medical humanities thanks to the work of Sophie Vasset, and I am delighted to continue this tradition through collaborations with the Institute La Personne en Médecine.