Professor Ève Morisi

(PhD Princeton University and Paris-Sorbonne)
Associate Professor of French, Fellow of

Research Interests

Ève Morisi’s research examines the interface of poetics, politics and ethics in French, Francophone, and comparative literature from the 19th to the 21st century. Several of her projects have focused on the ways in which literary representations of extreme violence and resistance have engaged critically with socio-political forms of oppression, State power, and/or lethal law at critical historical junctures. Hugo and Baudelaire have been of particular interest for the 19th century; Camus and Algerian Francophone writers for the 20th and 21st centuries.

She is currently working on the figuration of terrorism in modern and contemporary French and Algerian Francophone fiction, and on modern French poetry and politics.

Part of Professor Morisi’s scholarship has resulted in support by or collaborations with Amnesty International, the Red Cross, the Memorial Site of the Camp des Milles, the Centre Albert Camus-Cité du Livre, and French and British public media (through exhibitions, public lectures, interviews).

 

Main publications

  • Capital Letters: Hugo, Baudelaire, Camus and the Death Penalty (Northwestern UP, 2020; discount code TLS30). Through the prism of poetics and contemporary critiques of violence, this monograph sheds light on a transhistorical dialogue about both modern French lethal justice and the ends and means of post-Revolutionary literature. It reveals that, despite their differences, Hugo, Baudelaire, and Camus converge in questioning France’s humanitarian redefinition of capital punishment dating from the late eighteenth century, and that, conversely, capital justice leads all three writers to interrogate the functions, tools, and limits of their art. Extract available here   

  • Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing (ed. with Birte Christ; Legenda, 2019). This edited volume in comparative literature is the first to assess the contribution of a wide range of major European and North-American literary works (by Revolutionary playwrights, Hugo, Dostoevsky, Wilde, Kafka, Mailer, King and others) to the critique of capital punishment from the 18th to the 21st century. Extract available here 

  • Camus et l’éthique (ed., Classiques Garnier, 2014)

  • Albert Camus, le souci des autres (Classiques Garnier, 2013). This monograph identifies a critical nexus in Camus’s abundant oeuvre, namely an ethics of care at the crossroads of socio-political justice and a poetics of visibility focusing on vulnerable communities. It shows how the writer rejected oppression, political exclusion, and attempted to establish a minimal threshold of humanity through both word and action, all while considering the limits of this enterprise. Extract available here

  • Albert Camus contre la peine de mort (Gallimard, 2011, pref. by abolitionist lawyer and former Minister of Justice Robert Badinter). This volume collects all of Camus’s writings on the death penalty. It includes previously-unpublished material and presents the writer’s defence of numerous men condemned to death during Franco’s dictatorship, WWII and the purges that marked the Libération in France, the Greek Civil War, the repression perpetrated in Eastern Europe under Stalinism, and the Algerian War of Independence. Extract available here  

 

Background and Access to Higher Education 

Professor Morisi was educated at non-selective state schools in France. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot (B.A. in English, M.A. in American literature) before studying at Columbia University (M.A. with thesis in comparative literature), Princeton University and the Sorbonne (joint PhD and doctorat in French and Francophone literature). Before coming to Oxford, she taught at the University of St Andrews and at the University of California.  

Having a keen interest in social diversity and widening access, she would be delighted to receive applications from outstanding students from a variety of schools, including non-selective state schools.

For more information on the study of modern languages at Oxford, please see here. For the study of French in particular, see this webpage.  Information about St Hugh’s College, where Professor Morisi teaches, can be found here.

Postgraduate applicants will find relevant information about modern languages at Oxford here and French in particular here.

 

Teaching and Research Supervision

For Prelims (1st year of study), Professor Morisi teaches the close reading of modern and contemporary short texts and narrative fiction (Papers III and IV). At FHS level (2nd to 4th year of study), she teaches French and Francophone literature of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries on Paper VIII, some modern and contemporary “Prescribed Authors” on Paper XI, Papers XII on Francophone literature, 20th-century French poetry and “Histories of violence (1789-present)”, and translation from English to French to 2nd- and 4th-year students. At the postgraduate level, she teaches seminars on a variety of topics, including Francophone literature and Baudelaire.  

She lectures in both French and English on 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century poetry and prose, including Charles Baudelaire, Albert Camus, Assia Djebar, Marie NDiaye and “Writing Killing” in the post-Revolutionary period. 

She has supervised doctoral work on Camus and violence (at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) as well as MSt and undergraduate theses on various aspects of 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature and culture (Camus and the Résistance, totalitarianism in contemporary dystopian fiction,  ​​​​​masculinity in Boudjedra and Mauvignier, gender and power in Ionesco, Arendt and Camus, olfaction in 19th-c. poetry, etc.). She welcomes prospective postgraduate students who wish to work on topics that relate to her areas of expertise.

 

Other selected publications:

  • 2084 après 1984: Sansal, Orwell, Fanon et l’anti-humanisme.” Forthcoming. 

  • “2005. Assia Djebar, ‘Fillette arabe’ devenue académicienne.” Faire musée d’une histoire commune. Rapport de préfiguration de la nouvelle exposition permanente du Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration. Eds. Romain Bertrand et Patrick Boucheron. Paris: Le Seuil, 2019. 487-494.    

  • “Penser le terrorisme: le cas Albert Camus.” Fellows 57: Regards croisés sur la violence extrême. Réseau Français des Instituts d’Études Avancées. May 2019. Reprinted in The Conversation, June 2019.  

  • “Staging the Limit: Albert Camus’s Just Assassins and the Il/legitimacy of Terrorism.” Terrorism and Literature. Ed. Peter Herman. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 263-282. Extract available here

  • “Baudelaire et Camus : penser la peine de mort.” La Revue des Lettres Modernes Série Albert Camus 23. Paris : Lettres Modernes Minard / Classiques Garnier, 2014: 263-81.

  • “La Misère au quotidien. Camus et la Kabylie.” Camus au quotidien. Eds. André Benhaïm and Aymeric Glacet. Lille : Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, 2013. 101-119.

  • “‘Poésie-boucherie.’ Baudelaire’s Aesthetics and Ethics of Execution.” Thinking Poetry: Philosophical Approaches to Nineteenth-Century French Poetry. Ed. Joseph Acquisto. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. 75-95. 

  • “Camus hospitalier? Camus fraternel? Les Impossibilités de ‘L’Hôte’ dans le contexte colonial.” French Forum 32 (Winter 2007): 153-69.

  • “‘À une dame créole’ de Charles Baudelaire : de l’ambiguïté colonialiste à l’ambiguïté plurielle.” Nineteenth-Century French Studies 35 (Spring/Summer 2007): 547-57.   

 

Selected Awards and Prizes

  • The Robert B. Silvers Grant for Work-In-Progress/The New York Review of Books, 2019-2020

  • European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) Fellowship, Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris, 2015-2016

  • Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship, Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées (Aix-Marseille), Fall 2015-Winter 2016 (declined)

  • Kirby Prize for best essay, South Central Modern Language Association, 2015

  • Laureate of Peter Lang Young UK Scholars Competition in French Studies, 2011 (declined)

  • Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship. The Phi Beta Kappa Society, 2010-2011

  • Charlotte Elizabeth Procter Honorific Fellowship, Princeton University. 2009-2010

  • Laurance S. Rockefeller Graduate Prize Fellowship of the Center for Human Values, Princeton University. 2009-2010 

  • Alfred Foulet Teaching Award for Language Instruction. Princeton University, 2007-2008

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