Sharon Marcus teaches at Columbia University, where she is the Orlando Harriman Professor of English and Comparative Literature, specializing in 19th-century British and French culture. Her scholarship analyzes the cultural assignment of value in domains as diverse as architecture and urban planning, family life and social relationships, and literary criticism and performance culture.
During her fellowship year, Marcus is completing “The Drama of Celebrity,” a book that traces the roots of modern celebrity to 19th-century theater and seeks to explain why people find celebrity culture so alluring. Departing from the common view that celebrities and fans alike are dupes of an all-powerful culture industry, Marcus argues that celebrity culture is an evenly pitched struggle in which media workers, publics, and celebrities all vie to define stars.
Marcus earned her PhD in comparative literature from Johns Hopkins University. The recipient of an ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars, a Fulbright grant, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Marcus has published two prize-winning books, Apartment Stories: City and Home in Nineteenth-Century Paris and London (University of California Press, 1999) and Between Women: Marriage, Desire, and Friendship in Victorian England (Princeton University Press, 2007). Her many articles include the widely cited “Surface Reading,” coauthored with Stephen Best (Representations, 2009). In 2012, Marcus cofounded the online magazine Public Books. She has written about literature, film, and gender for the Boston Globe, the Chronicle Review, the New York Times Book Review, Pacific Standard, and the Wall Street Journal.