17th- and 18th-century literature

Maria Teodora Comsa

portrait: Maria Teodora Comsa


Office Hours: 
By appointment
Focal Group(s): 
Digital Humanities
Curriculum Vitae: 

Maria Teodora specializes in French literature of the 17th and 18th centuries with emphasis on theater. She earned a DEUG in Lettres Modernes from Université Lyon2 Lumière, a B.A. (Summa cum laude) and an M.A. in French from San José State University. Her M.A. thesis focused on Belgian author Suzanne Lilar: "Le Burlador de Suzanne Lilar: Mythe et tragédie féminine." Before coming to Stanford, she taught French at SJSU and at Foothill College.

Maria Teodora is currently working on her dissertation on society theater, a popular form of private entertainment in 18th-century France. Her project examines the interaction between private and public theaters from esthetic and social perspectives. This project is supplemented by a database of society theater people, places, plays, and perfomance.

Maria Teodora's other research interests incude classical French literature and culture, the reception of Molière's works in the 18th century, representations of Don Juan by women writers, French cinema, and digital humanities. She participates in the Mapping of the Republic of Letters project and is Lab Manager for Humanities + Design within CESTA.

Courses Taught

Fall 2013: French 21C - Second-Year French: Cultural Emphasis, Third Quarter

Winter 2013: "French Theatromania: from the Great Classics to Private Theater in 17th and 18th Century France"

Summer 2011: Instructor for Frenlang 5A (Accelerated first year French)

Fall 2010: Instructor for Frenlang 23C (second year, third quarter French)

2009-1010: Instructor for Frenlang 1, 2, 3 (first year French levels 1, 2, and 3)

TA for Faculty

Spring 2012: Head TA for Frengen 192E - "Images of Women in French Cinema" (TA for 2 Sections)

Spring 2011: TA for Frenlit 132 - "Literatures, Revolutions and Changes in 19th- and 20th- Century France"

Winter 2011: TA for Frenlit 131 - "Absolutism, Enlightenment, and Revolution in 17th- and 18th- Century France" 

                        TA for Frenlit 133 - "Literature and Society in Africa and the Caribbean"
                        TA for Frenlit 267 - "National Literatures, Litterature-monde: A New Comparatism"

Winter 2009: TA for Frenlit 132 - "Literatures, Revolutions and Changes in 19th and 20th Century France"

Conference Presentations

“Society Plays as Testimony of Social Change,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Conference, Williamsburg,VA, March 2014

“Society Theater.db,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Conference, Williamsburg, VA, March 2014

“Love in French Society Theater,” Western Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, UC Davis, CA, February 2014

“French Society Plays and Playwrights in the Press,” American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) Conference, Cleveland, OH, April 2013

"Le Malentendu du Deuxième Sexe: Une attaque du livre guide du féminisme; Autrefois et maintenant," Simone de Beauvoir Society's 17th International Conference, San José State University, San José, CA, June 2009

"Don Juan as Incarnation of the Feudal," Northern California Renaissance Conference, San José State University, San José, CA, May 2009


English, French, Romanian, Spanish, Latin


Ph.D., Stanford University, California, Department of French and Italian, June 2014.

M.A., San José State University, California, Department of World Languages and Literatures, 2008.

B.A., Summa Cum Laude, San José State University, California, Department of World Languages and Literatures, 2005.

D.E.U.G., Université Lyon2 Lumière, Lyon, France, Département de Lettres Modernes, 1999.

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