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

Showalter, E., and T. Moi. “Elaine showalter a literature of their own.” Feminist Literary Criticism, 2014, pp. 24–52. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315846163. Full Text

Moi, T. “’Something That Might Resemble a Kind of Love’: Fantasy and Realism in Henrik Ibsen’s Little Eyolf.” Understanding Love Through Philosophy, Film, and Fiction, Ed. Susan Wolfe and Christopher Grau, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 185–208.

Moi, T. “Access to the Universal: Language, Literature and the Humanities.” The Critical Pulse: Thirty-Six Credos by Contemporary Critics, edited by Jeffrey Williams and Heather Steffen, Columbia University Press, 2012, pp. 183–87.

Moi, T. “‘To Make them Other, and Face Them’: Literature, Philosophy and ‘La Femme rompue’.” Women, Genre and Circumstance: Essays in Memory of Elizabeth Fallaize, edited by Margaret Atack et al., Oxford: Legenda, 2012, pp. 11–24.


MOI, T. “ANOTHER COLETTE - THE QUESTION OF GENDERED WRITING - HUFFER,L.” French Forum, vol. 20, no. 2, May 1995, pp. 250–52.

Moi, Toril. “"Am I That Name": Reply to Deborah Knight.” New Literary History, vol. 26, no. 1, Project Muse, 1995, pp. 57–62. Crossref, doi:10.1353/nlh.1995.0013. Full Text

MOI, T., and J. MITCHELL. “PSYCHOANALYSIS, FEMINISM, AND POLITICS, A CONVERSATION WITH MITCHELL,JULIET.” South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 93, no. 4, 1994, pp. 925–49.

Moi, T. “Review Article Femininity Revisited.” Journal of Gender Studies, vol. 1, no. 3, May 1992, pp. 324–34. Scopus, doi:10.1080/09589236.1992.9960503. Full Text

Moi, T. “She died because she came too late…" knowledge, doubles and death in thomas's tristan.” Exemplaria, vol. 4, no. 1, Jan. 1992, pp. 105–33. Scopus, doi:10.1179/exm.1992.4.1.105. Full Text

Moi, Toril. “Simone de Beauvoir's L'Invitée: an existentialist melodrama.” Paragraph, vol. 14, no. 2, Edinburgh University Press, July 1991, pp. 151–69. Crossref, doi:10.3366/para.1991.0012. Full Text

MOI, T. “Review. Subject to Change: Reading Feminist Writing. Miller, Nancy K.French Studies, vol. 45, no. 1, Oxford University Press (OUP), Jan. 1991, pp. 112–112. Crossref, doi:10.1093/fs/45.1.112. Full Text

MOI, T. “Review. Politics, Philosophy, Culture: Interviews and Other Writings 1977-1984. Edited with an introduction by Lawrence D. Kritzman. Foucault, Michel.” French Studies, vol. 44, no. 3, Oxford University Press (OUP), July 1990, pp. 370–370. Crossref, doi:10.1093/fs/44.3.370. Full Text

MOI, T. “BOOKS OR SPINNING-WHEELS - ON WOMEN, PHILOSOPHY, ET-CETERA - FRENCH - LEDOEUFF,M.” Tls the Times Literary Supplement, no. 4549, June 1990, pp. S13–S13.

MOI, T. “SEXUAL SUBVERSIONS - 3 FRENCH FEMINISTS - GROSZ,E.” Tls the Times Literary Supplement, no. 4549, June 1990, pp. S13–S13.