Sylvaine Guyot is Professor of French Literature in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures (RLL) and Chair for Theater, Dance & Media (TDM) at Harvard University. A former student at the École normale supérieure, she holds a BA (1997) and an agrégation (2000) in Classics, and she received her doctorate in French Literature and Performance Studies at the University Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle (2008).

She first came to the United States in 2000-2001 as a lecturer at Yale University and taught for five years at the Sorbonne Nouvelle before joining the Harvard faculty in 2009. In 2014, she taught at the Institut d'études françaises in Avignon during the summer and was Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of French & Romance Philology at Columbia University. She was a 2018-2019 Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Paris (EURIAS).

Her research and teaching interests focus on seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century theater and performance practices, with particular emphasis on the representation of the body in early modern France, the history of visual emotions, the notion of the tragic, the theory and politics of theatricality, as well as the intersections of critical thinking and creative practice.

She is the author of Racine ou l’alchimie du tragique (PUF, 2010) and Racine et le corps tragique (PUF, 2014), as well as the co-editor of a special issue of Littératures classiques on L’Œil classique (2013, with Tom Conley), of a new edition of Racine’s Théâtre complet (Classiques Garnier, 2013, with Alain Viala), and of a forthcoming volume on Databases, Revenue, & Repertory: The Eighteenth-Century French Stage Online (1680-1793) (MIT Press, 2020, with Jeffrey Ravel). She has also published numerous articles on Corneille, the intersections of drama and painting, the figure of the king in seventeenth-century tragedy, as well as Louis Marin, the development of aesthetics and the neoclassical sublime. She is currently working on two book-length projects, one on éblouissement vs. séduction in early modern visual culture, the other devoted to the Princess Palatine’s voluminous correspondence. 

Stationing herself at the cross-flow of scholarly research, digital humanities, and artistic practice, she is also a co-leader of the Comédie-Française Registers Project (CFRP), a digital humanities endeavour in collaboration with MIT, the University of Paris Nanterre and the Sorbonne.

Trained in Paris in physical theater, she is the director of theatre company La Troupe at Harvard and has directed productions of various plays by Corneille, Racine, Ionesco, Camus, Heiner Müller, Jean-Luc Lagarce, and Wajdi Mouawad, both in France and in the United States.  Since 2015, she has been a member of the Scientific Committee of the Rencontres Recherche et Création, organized jointly by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche and the Festival d'Avignon.


Office Address:
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Harvard University
Boylston Hall - 4th floor
Cambridge, MA 02138 - USA