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Faculty: Toril Moi  

Toril Moi
Title: James B. Duke Distinguished Professor
Office Location: 1316 Campus Drive, 108 Friedl Building, Durham, NC 27708-0403
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Email Address:
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Picture credit: Oscar Einzig Photography.
Office Hours:

Fall 2023 Semester:

Wednesdays 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Email first to make an appointment.


  • Dr. Art., University of Bergen (Norway), 1985
  • Mag. art., University of Bergen (Norway), 1980

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)


  • Moi, T. Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy.  Oxford University Press, 2006 (xvi + 396 pages pp.). Norwegian translation: Ibsens modernisme, translated by Agnete Øye (Oslo: Pax, 2006; 502 pp.) English language paperback published 2008.
  • Moi, T. Sex, Gender and the Body: The Student Edition of What Is a Woman?.  Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005 (xv + 274 pages pp.). (Contains the first two essays in What Is a Woman? and a new preface.)
  • Moi, T. What Is a Woman? and Other Essays.  Oxford University Press, January, 1999 (xv + 517 pages pp.). The two first chapters appeared as two separate books in Norwegian, translated by Rakel Christina Granaas: Hva er en kvinne (Pax, 1998) and Jeg er en kvinne (Pax, 2001).
  • Moi, T. Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory.  Methuen, 1985 (xviii + 206 pages pp.). Translated into eleven languages: Spanish, German, Finnish, Korean, Chinese (twice), Japanese, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Greek, Russian. A 2nd edition with a new afterword appeared in 2002, published by Routledge.
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