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Toril Moi, James B. Duke Professor of Literature & Romance Studies and Professor of English

Toril Moi
Contact Info:
Office Location:  208 Franklin Center
Office Phone:  (919) 668-6407 or 684-4127
Email Address: send me a message
Web Pages:
Picture credit: Oscar Einzig Photography

Teaching (Fall 2015):

    Crowell 107, Tu 10:20 AM-12:50 PM
    (also cross-listed as LIT 822S.01)
Office Hours:

by appointment via email
Education: in Comparative LiteratureUniversity of Bergen1985 in Comparative LiteratureUniversity of Bergen1980
Cand.mag. in French, Spanish and Comparative LiteratureUniversity of Bergen1976

European Studies
Gender Studies, Feminism, Women Studies, Queer Studies
Modernity and Modernism
Modern and Contemporary
Critical Theory, Philosophy
Comparative Studies: Translation, Travel Narratives, Trans-Culturality
Research Interests: Feminism, Modernism, Philosophy & Literature, and 19th & 20th Century European Literature

Current projects: The Emergence of European Modernism 1870-1914, Feminist Theory and Women Writers

Toril Moi has three broad areas of interest: feminist theory and women's writing; the intersection of literature, philosophy and aesthetics; and ordinary language philosophy in the tradition of Wittgenstein, Cavell and Austin.

Toril Moi also works on theather. In her work on literature and theater she is particularly interested in the emergence of modernism in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Her books include Sesual/Testual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory (1985; 2nd edition 2002), Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman (1994; second edition with a major new introduction 2008); and What Is a Woman? And Other Essays (1999), republished in a shorter version as Sex, Gender and the Body (2005). She is the editor of The Kristeva Reader (1986), and of French Feminst Thought (1987).

In 2006, Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosphy, was published in English by Oxford University Press and in Norwegian by Pax Forlag (Oslo). The book won the MLA's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for the best book in Comparative Literary Studies in 2007. It is now available in paperback.

Toril Moi now works on three projects: (1) The Emergence of European Modernism 1870-1914; (2) Femisist Theory and Women Writers; and (3) "Pictures of Language": on the vision of language in ordinary language philosophy. She also continues to work on Henrik Ibsen's plays.

Toril Moi enjoys working with students at all levels. She won Duke's Univeristy Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award in 1998, and the Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring of Graduate Students in 2008.

In her native Norway, Toril Moi writes a regular column for the financial newspaper Dagens Næringsliv.

Areas of Interest:

Simone de Beauvoir
Henrik Ibsen
Ordinary Language Philosophy


women • feminism • modernism • literature • aesthetics • ordinary language philosophy • theater • existentialism

Curriculum Vitae
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy (2006), pp. xvi + 396, Oxford University Press
  2. Sex, Gender and the Body: The Student Edition of What Is a Woman? (2005), Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press (Contains the first two essays in What Is a Woman? and a new preface..)
  3. Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman, 2nd edition, with a major new introduction. (2008), Oxford: Oxford University Press
  4. T. Moi, 'I am not a woman writer': About Women, Literature and Feminist Theory Today, Feminist Theory (UK), vol. 9 no. 3 (December, 2008), pp. 259-71
  5. T. Moi, Ibsen in Exile: Peer Gynt, or the Difficulty of Becoming a Poet in Norway, Field Day Review (Dublin) no. 4 (September, 2008), pp. 24-39
  6. A Woman's Desire to be Known: Silence and Expressivity in Corinne, in Untrodden Regions of the Mind: Romanticism and Psychoanalysis, edited by Ghislaine McDayter, vol. 45 no. 2 (2002), pp. 143-75, Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press
  7. T. Moi, ‘I Am Not a Feminist, But…’ How Feminism Became the F-word, PMLA, vol. 121 no. 5 (October, 2006), pp. 1735-41
  8. From Femininity to Finitude: Freud, Lacan and Feminism, Again, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 29 no. 3 (Spring, 2004), pp. 841-78
  9. While We Wait: The English Translation of The Second Sex, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 27 no. 4 (Summer, 2002), pp. 1005-36
  10. Meaning What We Say: The 'Politics of Theory' and the Responsibility of Intellectuals, in The Philosophical Legacy of Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Emily Grosholz (2004), pp. 139-60, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Picture credit: Oscar Einzig Photography.

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