Toril Moi

Toril Moi

James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of Literature

External address: 
1316 Campus Drive, 108 Friedl Building, Durham, NC 27708-0403
Internal office address: 
Box 90670, 108 Friedl Building, East Campus, Durham, NC 27708-0403
(919) 668-6407

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 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 cultural newspaper Morgenbladet.


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

Anderson, Amanda, et al. Character Three Inquiries in Literary Studies. Trios, 2019.

Moi, Toril. Toril Moi leser A.O. Vinje [Toril Moi reads A. O. Vinje]. Nasjonalbiblioteket, 2016.

Moi, T. Sex, Gender and the Body: The Student Edition of What Is a Woman? Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Moi, T. What Is a Woman? and Other Essays. Oxford University Press, 1999.

Various, J. French Feminist Thought. Edited by T. Moi, Blackwell, 1987.

Kristeva, Julia. The Kristeva Reader. Edited by Toril Moi, Oxford: Blackwell, and New York: Columbia, 1986.

Anderson, Amanda, et al. “Introduction & Rethinking Character.” Character Three Inquiries in Literary Studies, University of Chicago Press, 2019, pp. 1–76.

Moi, Toril. “Lidenskapens grammatikk: Om Vigdis Hjorth og Annie Ernaux (The Grammar of Passion: About Vigdis Hjorth and Annie Ernaux).” Fem Kvinner, Tre Menn Og En Datter Skriver Om Vigdis Hjorth, edited by Eva Grøner, Cappelen Damm, 2019, pp. 77–88.

Alix-Garcia, J., et al. Introduction. Vol. 4, 2017, p. iii. Scopus, doi:10.1086/693389. Full Text

Moi, T. “Hedda’s words: The work of language in Hedda Gabler.” Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler: Philosophical Perspectives, 2017, pp. 152–73. Scopus, doi:10.1093/oso/9780190467876.003.0008. Full Text

Moi, T. “The adulteress wife.” On Ne Nait Pas Femme: On Le Devient the Life of a Sentence, 2017, pp. 103–13. Scopus, doi:10.1093/oso/9780190608811.003.0006. Full Text

Moi, Toril. “Foreword.” The Utopian, by Michael Westlake, Verbivoracious Press, 2016, pp. VII–XIV.

Moi, T. “'Nothing Is Hidden’: From Confusion to Clarity, Or Wittgenstein on Critique.” Rethinking Critique, edited by E. Anker and R. Felski, Duke University Press, 2016.

Moi, T. “‘Øyeblikkets bedrageriske fylde’: Handling, språk og eksistens i Liv Køltzows forfatterskap.” Å Forsvinne i Teksten, edited by L. Køltzow and H. P. Blad, Flamme Forlag, 2015.

Moi, T. “Stumhet og kjærlighet: En lesning av Amtmandens Døttre [Muteness and Love: A Reading of The District Governor’s Daughters].Å Bli En Stemme: Nye Studier i Camilla Colletts Forfatterskap, edited by Trond Haugen, Novus Forlag, 2014, pp. 33–54.

Moi, T. “Ibsen’s Late Style.” Henrik Ibsen, The Master Builder and Other Plays, Penguin Books, 2014.


Moi, T. “Acknowledging the other: Reading, writing, and living in the mandarins.” Yale French Studies, vol. 2019-January, no. 135–136, Jan. 2019, pp. 100–15.

Moi, T. “Thinking through Examples: What Ordinary Language Philosophy Can Do for Feminist Theory (Accepted).” New Literary History, vol. 46, no. 3, Johns Hopkins University Press, June 2015.

Moi, T. “Thinking through examples: What ordinary language philosophy can do for feminist theory.” New Literary History, vol. 46, no. 2, Mar. 2015, pp. 191–216. Scopus, doi:10.1353/nlh.2015.0014. Full Text

Bauer, Nancy, et al. “Introduction.” New Literary History, vol. 46, no. 2, Project Muse, 2015, pp. v–xiii. Crossref, doi:10.1353/nlh.2015.0012. Full Text

Moi, Toril. “Hedda's Silences: Beauty and Despair in Hedda Gabler.” Modern Drama, vol. 56, no. 4, 2013, pp. 434–56. Wos-lite, doi:10.3138/md.S89. Full Text

Moi, T. “Afterword: How the French Read.” New Literary History, vol. 44, 2013, pp. 299–314.

Moi, T. “Shame and Openness: On Karl Ove Knausgård.” Salmagundi Magazine, translated by T. Moi and A. F. Lunde, vol. 107, no. Winter, 2013, pp. 205–10.

Toril, M. “Henrik Ibsen and idealism: Rethinking literary history of the XIX century.” Etudes Germaniques, vol. 62, no. 4, Dec. 2007, pp. 915–32.

Dupont, N., and T. Moi. “The poetic piping of Christian Prigent: Ventiloquits framework and glottic phrase.” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, vol. 10, no. 2, Dec. 2006, pp. 127–40. Scopus, doi:10.1080/17409290600560229. Full Text