Professor Ève Morisi

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

Interests

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 It includes previously-unpublished material and presents the writer’s defence of numerous men condemned to death during Franco’s dictatorship, WWII and the purges that marked the Libération in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, identified a critical nexus in Camus’s abundant oeuvre, namely an ethics of care at the crossroads of social justice,  human rights, and classical thought. It showed how the writer rejected oppression, political exclusion, and attempted to establish a minimal threshold of humanity though both word and action. Closely examining his journalism, fiction, correspondence, and public and private interventions, it brought to light his solidarity with a number of vulnerable communities whose political and/or biological existence was under threat, all while considering the limits of this enterprise. It  was complemented by an edited volume on the broader question of Camus et l’éthique (Classiques Garnier, 2014).

Recent and forthcoming publications include Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing (with Birte Christ), an edited volume in comparative literature assessing the contribution of major European and North-American writers to the critique of capital punishment from the 18th to the 21st century; Capital Letters: Hugo, Baudelaire, Camus and the Death Penalty, a monograph that sheds light on a previously-unidentified transhistorical critical dialogue on lethal justice in France as well as on the ends and means of post-Revolutionary literature through the prism of poetics; and contributions on the representations of terrorism in modern and contemporary French and Francophone fiction.

Professor Morisi has a keen interest in research dissemination targeting younger and general audiences through a variety of means (exhibitions, workshops, public lectures for non-specialists, interviews, publications in newspapers, public radio and television shows). 

 

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, 20th-century French poetry and “Histories of violence (1789-present)”, and translation from English to French to 2nd- and 4th-year students.   

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. 

At the postgraduate level, she teaches seminars on Baudelaire and on Francophone literature. She has supervised or is supervising 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 (olfaction in Baudelaire and Rimbaud, gender and power in Ionesco, masculinity in Boudjedra and Mauvignier, Camus and the legal history of the purge, “indigenous identity” in Camus, etc.). She welcomes prospective postgraduate students who wish to work on topics that intersect with her areas of expertise.


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 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.  

Postgraduate applicants will find relevant information for modern languages in general here and for French in particular here.

 

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, 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

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