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

MOI, T. “A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE - JOHNSON,B.” Sub Stance, no. 59, 1989, pp. 120–22.

DANIUS, S., and T. MOI. “AN INTERVIEW WITH MOI,TORIL ON LITERATURE AND SEXUAL POLITICS.” Blm Bonniers Litterara Magasin, vol. 57, no. 4, Sept. 1988, pp. 258–64.

MOI, T. “Review. Simone de Beauvoir: Witness to a Century. Wenzel, Helene Vivienne (ed.).” French Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, Oxford University Press (OUP), Apr. 1988, pp. 235–36. Crossref, doi:10.1093/fs/42.2.235. Full Text

Moi, T. “Leo Bersani, The Freudian Body: Psychoanalysis and Art, New York: Columbia University Press, 1986, £15.45, 126 pp.” History of the Human Sciences, vol. 1, no. 2, Jan. 1988, pp. 276–79. Scopus, doi:10.1177/095269518800100208. Full Text

MOI, T. “Review. Theory as Fiction. Bowie, Malcolm, Freud, Proust and Lacan.French Studies, vol. 41, no. 4, Oxford University Press (OUP), Oct. 1987, pp. 469–469. Crossref, doi:10.1093/fs/41.4.469. Full Text

MOI, T. “Review. Feminism in France. From May '68 to Mitterrand. Duchen, Claire.” French Studies, vol. 41, no. 4, Oxford University Press (OUP), Oct. 1987, pp. 494–494. Crossref, doi:10.1093/fs/41.4.494. Full Text

MOI, T. “Review. Cross-References. Modern French Theory and the Practice of Criticism. Kelley, David and Llasera, Isabelle (eds).” French Studies, vol. 41, no. 3, Oxford University Press (OUP), July 1987, pp. 371–371. Crossref, doi:10.1093/fs/41.3.371. Full Text


MOI, T. “FEMMES, RECENT WRITINGS ON FRENCH WOMEN - WEITZ,MC.” French Studies, vol. 41, no. 1, Jan. 1987, pp. 114–16.

MOI, T. “Review. The Knowledge of Ignorance. From Genesis to Jules Verne. Martin, Andrew.” French Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, Oxford University Press (OUP), Apr. 1986, pp. 246–246. Crossref, doi:10.1093/fs/40.2.246. Full Text