Michela Marzano


Michela Marzano
Michela Marzano

Born in Rome in 1970, Michela Marzano is an Italian philosopher and prolific writer, based in France. She is Professor at the University of Paris V (René Descartes) and winner of the 2014 edition of the Bancarella literary prize with L’amore è tutto. È tutto ciò che so dell’amore (UTET 2013), a stream of consciousness narrative, focusing on her interpersonal relationships and how they have influenced her experiences as a woman. This book was published in the wake of Marzano’s popular autobiography Volevo essere una farfalla (2011) which marked her entry into contemporary Italian women’s writing. She is also a politician and, in 2013, became a member of the Italian Parliament for a party oriented to the left. She regularly writes a column for Vanity Fair, a widely-read Italian magazine, and other well-known Italian daily newspapers such as La Repubblica and Il manifesto, as well as interacting daily with her followers on her blog and several social media.

Michela Marzano received her PhD from the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, before moving to Paris. Since the beginning of her academic and literary career she has experimented with different genres, which span from scholarly essays to autobiographies, and has written on different subjects. As an academic, her main research interests are moral philosophy and ethics. In French she has published in particular on the body − Penser le corps (2002), La philosophie du corps (2007), and Dictionnaire du corps (2007) − and pornography − Alice au pays du porno (2005) and Malaise dans la sexualité (2006). Some of the essays originally written in French have been translated into Italian and Spanish.

In Volevo essere una farfalla she reveals her life-long battle with anorexia nervosa and the difficult journey to overcome her illness, sending a message of hope to all women battling with eating disorders. Volevo essere una farfalla is a ground-breaking text, where her philosophical knowledge of the body is combined with her personal experience as a present-day woman; furthermore, in this book for the first time an acclaimed academic describes her eating disorder, a subject that has been explored by women writers before, but never so directly. This autobiography is one of the few examples in contemporary Italian women’s writing where different interpretations of anorexia are brought together to explain the pathology in its entirety: scientifically and personally.

In 2010 Marzano also published Sii bella e stai zitta, a full account of the social constrictions and contradictions imposed on Italian women in contemporary times, so shedding new light on the cultural regression of Italian women in Berlusconi’s age. She talks extensively about women’s bodies and how they have become a public battleground, taking forward the debate on the burkini which was sparked off in Europe, and particularly in France, in the summer of 2016. Her latest publication Papà, mamma e gender (2015) is a reflection on the ‘no-gender-ideology’ debate which is currently heating up in Italian society.



Volevo essere una farfalla (Milan: Mondadori, 2011)

L’amore è tutto. È tutto ciò che so dell’amore (Turin: UTET, 2013)


In Italian
Straniero nel corpo. La passione e gli intrighi della ragione (Milan: Giuffrè, 2004)

Sii bella e stai zitta. Perché l’Italia di oggi offende le donne (Milan: Mondadori, 2010)

Cosa fare delle nostre ferite. La fiducia e l’accettazione dell’altro (Trento: Erickson, 2011)

Il diritto di essere io (Bari: Laterza, 2014)

[with Giovanna Casadio] Non seguire il mondo come va. Rabbia, coraggio, speranza e altre emozioni politiche (Turin: UTET, 2015)

Papà, mamma e gender (Turin: UTET, 2015)

In French
Penser le corps (Paris: PUF, 2002)

La Pornographie ou l’épuisement du désir (Paris: Buchet/Chastel, 2003)

La Fidélité ou l’amour à vif (Paris: Buchet/Chastel, 2005)

Alice au pays du porno [with Claude Rozier] (Paris: Ramsay, 2005)

Le Corps: Films X : Y jouer ou y être, entretien avec Ovidie (Paris: Autrement, 2005)

Je consens, donc je suis… Éthique de l’autonomie (Paris: PUF, 2006)

Malaise dans la sexualité (Paris: JC Lattès, 2006)

La Philosophie du corps (Paris: PUF, 2007)

Dictionnaire du corps (Paris: PUF, 2007)

La Mort spectacle (Paris: Gallimard, 2007)

L’Éthique appliquée (Paris: PUF, 2008)

Extension du domaine de la manipulation, de l’entreprise à la vie privée (Paris: Grasset, 2008)

Visage de la peur (Paris: PUF, 2009)

Le Fascisme. Un encombrant retour? (Paris: Larousse, 2009)

Le Contrat de défiance (Paris: Grasset, 2011)

Le Dictionnaire de la violence (Paris: PUF, 2011)

Translations into Italian of Works Written in French

La fine del desiderio: riflessioni sulla pornografia [Translation of La Pornographie ou l’épuisement du désir by Davide Frontini] (Milan: Mondadori, 2012).

Gli assassini del pensiero. Manipolazioni fasciste di ieri e di oggi [Translation of Le Fascisme: un encombrant retour? by Riccardo Mazzeo] (Trento: Erickson, 2012)

Avere fiducia. Perché è necessario credere negli altri [Translation of Le Contrat de défiance by Francesca Mazzurana] (Milan: Mondadori, 2012)

La filosofia del corpo [Translation of La Philosophie du corps  by Sergio Crapiz] (Genoa: Il Melangolo, 2010)

Etica Oggi. Fecondazione eterologa, ‘guerra giusta’, nuova morale sessuale e altre questioni contemporanee [Translation of L’’Ethique appliquée  by Riccardo Mazzeo] (Trento: Erickson, 2011)

Estensione del dominio della manipolazione. Dalla azienda alla vita privata [Translation of Extension du domaine de la manipulation by Beatrice Magni] (Milan: Mondadori, 2009)

La fedeltà, o Il vero amore [Translation of La Fidélité ou l’amour à vif by Sergio Crapiz] (Genoa: Il Melangolo, 2011)

Translations into Spanish of Works Written in French

La pornografia o el agotamiento del deseo [Translation of La Pornographie ou l’épuisement du désir by Víctor Goldstein] (Buenos Aires: Manantial, 2006)

La fidelidad o el amor al desnudo [Translation of La Fidélité ou l’amour à vif by Adela Gato] (Valencia: Diàlogo - Editiones Tilde, 2008)

Consiento, luego existo [Translation of Je consens, donc je suis… Éthique de l’autonomie by Judith Cobeña i Guàrdia] (Barcelona: Proteus, 2009)

Qué es la ética aplicada [Translation of L’Éthique appliquée by Judith Cobeña i Guàrdia] (Barcelona: Proteus, 2009)

La muerte como espectáculo [Translation of La Mort spectacle by Núria Viver Barri] (Barcelona: Tusquets, 2010)

Programados para triunfar. Nuevo capitalismo, gestión empresarial y vida privada, [Translation of Extension du domaine de la manipulation de l'enteprise à la vie privée by Núria Viver Barri] (Barcelona: Tusquets, 2011)


Calamita, Francesca: ‘Michela Marzano’s Volevo essere una farfalla. Come l’anoressia mi ha insegnato a vivere’ (La Libellula – Rivista di Italianistica, 4, December 2012, pp. 143-4)

─: Linguaggi dell’esperienza femminile. Disturbi alimentari, donne e scrittura dall’Unità al miracolo economico (Padua: Il Poligrafo, 2015)

D’Alessandro, Ruggero: Tre donne a Parigi. Simone De Beauvoir Julia Kristeva Michela Marzano. Studi sul pensiero femminile 2 (Sesto San Giovanni, Milan: Mimesis, 2016)


Interview with Michela Marzano, Le invasioni barbariche (March 2012)

Compiled by Francesca Calamita (Virginia)