Dr Cosmin Popovici-Toma

Cosmin Popovici-Toma, BA, MA, PhD
Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, FRQSC (Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture)


My primary research interests lie in the areas of postwar and contemporary French literature, literary theory and aesthetics, with an emphasis on deconstruction and its precipitates. I am also keenly interested in the dialogue between French- and English-language literature, as well as in musically-oriented approaches to literary writing. All of these concerns are informed, to varying degrees, by my work as an academic translator.

My first book, entitled Neutraliser l’absolu. Blanchot, Beckett et la chose littéraire, is a sustained inquiry into what remains of the ‘literary absolute’ (to quote Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy) in the works of Maurice Blanchot and Samuel Beckett. More specifically, it argues that the twin concepts of the neuter (le neutre) and the thing – especially when understood as res literaria or chose littéraire – form the basis of Beckett and Blanchot’s respective poetics, simultaneously consummating and undermining the Romantic absolute, all the while gesturing towards a literary ‘thing’ that is still to come.

My current research explores Blanchot’s lingering influence on contemporary French and English literature, as well as on digital culture.



Understanding Jean-Luc Nancy, Understanding Modernism, ed. by Cosmin Toma (New York: Bloomsbury) (in progress).

Neutraliser l’absolu. Blanchot, Beckett et la chose littéraire (Paris: Hermann), 2019.

Articles and chapters (selection)

‘Après le neutre : Jonathan Littell et Lee Rourke’. In Maurice Blanchot, l’héritage, ed. by Éric Hoppenot and Alain Milon (Paris: Presses universitaires de Paris Nanterre) (forthcoming).

‘Beckett’, ‘Espace’, ‘Musique’ and ‘Secret’. In Dictionnaire Maurice Blanchot, ed. by Mike Holland and Johannes Opelz (Paris: Classiques Garnier) (forthcoming).

‘Sarah Kofman and the Allure of Music’. Paragraph. ‘Will to Truth: Sarah Kofman and the Relief of Philosophy’, ed. by Jacob Bates-Firth and John McKeane (forthcoming in 2021).

‘Lectures arachnéennes (Nietzsche, Kofman)’. In Sarah Kofman. Philosopher autrement, ed. by Ginette Michaud and Isabelle Ullern (Paris: Hermann) (forthcoming in 2020).

‘Une bonne mort ? (Blanchot, Derrida)’. Philosophiques. ‘Derrida en cours’, ed. by Nicholas Cotton-Lizotte and Maxime Plante (forthcoming in 2020).

‘L’histoire et ses “travers” : dans les parages du Dernier Royaume de Pascal Quignard’. Fabula-LhT, 23, ‘(Trans-)historicité de la littérature’, ed. by Lise Forment and Brice Tabeling, Dec. 2019, online.

‘Critical First Steps: On Faux Pas’. In Understanding Blanchot, Understanding Modernism, ed. by Christopher Langlois (New York: Bloomsbury), 2018, pp. 19-36.

‘Autonomie de l’œuvre double. Phrases et paraphrases de Thomas l’Obscur’. Défi de lecture : Thomas l’Obscur de Maurice Blanchot, ed. by Anca Călin and Alain Milon (Paris: Presses universitaires de Paris Nanterre), 2017, pp. 161-175.

‘D’un espace neutre’. Word and Text, vol. V(1-2), ‘Blanchot’s Spaces’, ed. by Arleen Ionescu, William Large and Laura Marin, 2015, pp. 151-168.

‘De trop – l’infini. À l’écoute de Raphaël Cendo avec Jean-Luc Nancy’. Voix plurielles, vol. 11(2), ‘L’inachevé dans la modernité : littérature, art et musique’, ed. by Adina Balint-Babos and Antonio Viselli, 2014, pp. 9-19.

neither. Spectres sonores de Samuel Beckett’. University of Toronto Quarterly, vol. 83(3), ‘(An)aesthetic of Absence’, ed. by Lauren Beard and Antonio Viselli, 2014, pp. 645-658.

‘“Comment mal dire ?” L’Eau des fleurs de Jean-Michel Reynard’. Formes poétiques contemporaines, 10, ‘Envers la prose’, ed. by Jan Baetens, Bénédicte Gorillot, Jean-Jacques Thomas and Éric Trudel, 2013, pp. 245-258.

Les Bienveillantes et les limites de la littérature’. Études françaises, vol. 42(2), ‘Les lieux de la réflexion romanesque au XVIIIe siècle : de la poétique du genre à la culture du roman’, ed. by Ugo Dionne and Michel Fournier, 2013, pp. 167-180.

Translations (selection)

Penelope Deutscher, ‘Le féminin, quel genre de question ?’. In Sarah Kofman. Philosopher autrement, ed. by Ginette Michaud and Isabelle Ullern (Paris: Hermann) (forthcoming in 2020).

Michaud, Ginette. ‘Ekphrasing: “try say” with Georges Didi-Huberman and Hélène Cixous’. In Encountering, ed. by Jérôme Brillaud and Virginie Greene (forthcoming in 2020).

Michaud, Ginette. ‘Putting Truth to the Test of Forgiveness: Reading Jacques Derrida’s Seminar, “Le parjure et le pardon”’. Derrida Today, vol. 11(2), 2018, pp. 144-177.

De Vries, Hent. ‘Un pragmatisme profond’. In Jacques Derrida, la philosophie hors de ses gonds, ed. by Elisabeth Rigal and Marc Goldschmit (Paris: T.E.R. & Centre National du Livre), 2017, pp. 225-256.

Armstrong, Philip. ‘Gloss (à partir de quelques photos d’Ann Hamilton)’. Études françaises, vol. 51(2), 2015, pp. 163-174.

Derrida, Jacques, Peter Eisenman, Daniel Libeskind, et al. Eleven chapters. In Jacques Derrida, Les Arts de l’espace. Écrits et interventions sur l’architecture, ed. by Ginette Michaud and Joana Masó, in collaboration with Cosmin Popovici-Toma (Paris: Éditions de la Différence), 2015.

Armstrong, Philip. ‘L’abandon et l’“être-avec” : Derrida, un Français d’Algérie’. In Appels de Jacques Derrida, ed. by Danielle Cohen-Levinas and Ginette Michaud (Paris: Hermann), 2014, pp. 279-302.

De Vries, Hent. ‘“et iterum de Deo” : Jacques Derrida et la tradition des Noms divins’. In Appels de Jacques Derrida, ed. by Danielle Cohen-Levinas and Ginette Michaud (Paris: Hermann), 2014, pp. 189-228.

Derrida, Jacques. ‘Les arts de l’espace. Entretien avec Peter Brunette et David Wills’. In Penser à ne pas voir. Écrits sur les arts du visible (1979-2004), ed. by Ginette Michaud, Joana Masó and Javier Bassas (Paris: Éditions de la Différence), 2013, pp. 15-55.

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