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Faculty: Toril Moi  

Toril Moi
Title: James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Professor of English and Philosophy and Romance Studies and Theater Studies and Director of PAL
Office Location: 114 S. Buchanan Boulevard, B184 Smith Warehouse, Durham, NC 27708-0403
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Picture credit: Oscar Einzig Photography.


  • Dr. Art., University of Bergen, 1985
  • Mag. art., University of Bergen, 1980
  • Cand.mag. in French, Spanish and Comparative Literature, University of Bergen, 1976

Research Interests:  

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 theater. 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 Sexual/Textual 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 Feminist Thought (1987).

In 2006, Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy, 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 a book on ordinary language philosophy and literary theory. She also continues to write on feminist theory and women writers; and on Henrik Ibsen's plays.

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

She continues to write broadly for newspapers in her native Norway.

To find more information on Toril Moi's work, please see her personal website:

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

Edited Volumes

  •  The Kristeva Reader. Oxford: Blackwell, and New York: Columbia, 1986 (viii + 327 pp.).
  •  French Feminist Thought. Oxford and New York: Blackwell, 1987 (x + 260 pp.).
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