Professor Ève Morisi
Ève Morisi’s research seeks to interrogate the intersections of poetics, politics and ethics in French and Francophone literature. Part of it focuses on the representations of extreme violence and resistance in both prose and poetry from the 19th century to the present day. Hugo and Baudelaire have been of particular interest for the 19th century; Camus and Algerian Francophone writers for the 20th and 21st centuries.
Her first book, Albert Camus contre la peine de mort (Gallimard, 2011; pref. by abolitionist lawyer and Minister of Justice Robert Badinter), collected 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 It includes previously-unpublished material and presents the writer’s defence of numerous men condemned to death during Franco’s dictatorship, WWII and the purges that marked the Libération in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. This publication earned the support of Amnesty International, led to public lectures supported by such institutions as the Red Cross and the Memorial Site of the Camp des Milles, and provided the basis for a public exhibition that Professor Morisi curated at the Centre Albert Camus in Aix-en-Provence in 2012.
Albert Camus, le souci des autres (Classiques Garnier, 2013), her second book, investigated some of the ways in which Camus’s works and thought reject exclusion and establish a minimal threshold of the human. It showed that this author revives the polysemy, etymology, and mythology of “souci” (meaning both “care” and “concern”) while also highlighting the limits of such ethics and activism through a close examination of his journalism, fiction, correspondence, and public interventions. This essay was complemented by an edited volume on the broader question of Camus et l’éthique (Classiques Garnier, 2014).
Professor Morisi is fortunate to have been awarded a number of awards and prizes in support of her research by such organizations as Princeton University’s Center for Human Values, the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the South Central Modern Language Association, and the European Institutes for Advanced Study.
Recent and forthcoming publications include an edited volume in comparative literature entitled Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing (with Birte Christ); a monograph: Capital Letters: Hugo, Baudelaire, Camus and the Death Penalty; and contributions on the representations of terrorism in modern and contemporary French and Francophone literature.
Teaching and Research Supervision
For Prelims (1st year of study), Professor Morisi teaches the close reading of short texts and French 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 and on 20th-century French poetry, and translation from English to French to 2nd- and 4th-year students.
She lectures on 19th- and 20th-century poetry and prose, including Charles Baudelaire, Albert Camus, Assia Djebar and “Writing Killing” in the modern period.
At the postgraduate level, she teaches seminars on Baudelaire and on Francophone literature. She is currently co-supervising a doctorat on Camus and violence (at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) and supervising MSt dissertations on 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century literature whose topics intersect with her specialism. She welcomes prospective postgraduate students who wish to work in compatible research areas.
Background and Access to Higher Education
Professor Morisi was educated at non-selective state schools in France and graduated with a BA in English and an MA in American Literature from Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot. After obtaining an MA in French with a comparative literature thesis at Columbia University and an MA at Princeton University, she completed a PhD in French literature at Princeton and the Sorbonne.
She taught French and Francophone literature at the University of St Andrews before taking up a post first as Assistant Professor, then Associate Professor of French at the University of California. She joined Oxford in December 2016.
Having a particular 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.
Undergraduate applicants who wish to know more about the study of modern languages at Oxford–and the various subject combinations that the University and every College offer–will find useful information here. For the study of French in particular, please see this webpage.
Monographs & edited collections
- Capital Letters: Hugo, Baudelaire, Camus and the Death Penalty. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern UP, forthcoming in 2020.
- Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing. (Ed., with Birte Christ) Oxford: Legenda, forthcoming in 2019.
- Albert Camus et l’éthique. (Ed.) Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2014.
- Albert Camus, le souci des autres. Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2013.
- Albert Camus contre la peine de mort. Paris: Éditions Gallimard, 2011.
Selected book chapters and journal articles
- “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.
- “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
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