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. 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.

Some of her projects in which literature and violence intersect with history, law and/or human rights have led to collaborations with or support from Amnesty International, the Red Cross, the Memorial Site of the Camp des Milles, the Centre Albert Camus and to dissemination targeting younger and general audiences (through exhibitions, public lectures, newspaper articles, interviews on national public radio and television).

Professor Morisi is currently working on the representations of terrorism in modern and contemporary French and Algerian Francophone fiction, and on modern French poetry.

 

Main publications

  • Capital Letters: Hugo, Baudelaire, Camus and the Death Penalty (Northwestern UP, 2020). Extract available here             Through the prism of poetics and contemporary critiques of violence, this monograph sheds light on a previously-unidentified transhistorical dialogue about both modern French lethal justice and the ends and means of post-Revolutionary literature.

  • Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing (ed. with Birte Christ; Legenda, 2019). Extract available here                       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 to the critique of capital punishment from the 18th to the 21st century.

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

  • Albert Camus, le souci des autres (Classiques Garnier, 2013). Extract available here                                                           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.

  • Albert Camus contre la peine de mort (Gallimard, 2011, pref. by abolitionist lawyer and Minister of Justice Robert Badinter). Extract available here                                                                                                                                                      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.

 

Background and Access to Higher Education 

Professor Morisi was educated at non-selective state schools in France. She then completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot (B.A. in English, M.A. in American literature), 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.

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.  For information about St Hugh’s College, where Professor Morisi teaches, please see here.

Postgraduate applicants will find relevant information for modern languages in general here and for 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 Baudelaire and on Francophone literature.  

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 essays and theses on various aspects of 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature (Camus and the Résistance, “indigenous identity” in Camus, masculinity in Boudjedra and Mauvignier, gender and power in Ionesco, Baudelaire, Rimbaud and 19th-c. olfaction, 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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