Dr J S T Garfitt

Associate Professor of French

Toby Garfitt, M.A., D.Phil.
University Lecturer (CUF) in French, Fellow of Magdalen College


Toby Garfitt works mainly on French literature between the two world wars, with a special interest in Catholic writing (Mauriac, La Tour du Pin) and non-metropolitan literature. He has supervised theses on Francophone literature from Africa, the Caribbean, and Vietnam, runs a regular Francophone seminar, and has recently chaired talks by Edouard Glissant, Patrick Chamoiseau, Maryse Condé, Raphael Confiant and Leila Sebbar. He has completed a biography of Jean Grenier, the philosopher and essayist who was the mentor of Albert Camus, and is now working on the contemporary novelist and essayist Sylvie Germain. Translation studies is another area of interest.


French language and literature, especially 20th-century literature (including Francophone, and Literature and War).

Graduate Teaching

Francophone Literature for MSt and DPhil (recent theses supervised have included ones on the Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad, African publishing, and childhood in Caribbean writing). 20th-century literature (theses on Gide and Camus), literature and spirituality. I have also run a Francophone Graduate seminar since 2000.



Writing the Great War/Comment écrire la Grande Guerre? ed. Nicolas Bianchi and Toby Garfitt, Peter Lang, 2017

God’s Mirror: Renewal and Engagement in French Catholic Intellectual Culture in the Mid-Twentieth Century, ed. Katherine Davies and Toby Garfitt, Fordham University Press, 2014

Academic English for Humanities: Linguistics and Literary Studies, ed. Toby Garfitt and Manuela Gheorghe, Olomouc, 2013

Correspondance Jean Grenier – Jean Guéhenno : édition et présentation, Rennes, La Part Commune, 2011

Jean Grenier, un écrivain et un maître, Rennes, La Part Commune, 750 pp., 2010

‘Writing 1914-1918: National Responses to the Great War’, special number of Studies in 20th and 21st Century Literature, 41.2 (Summer 2017), ed. Nicolas Bianchi and Toby Garfitt

‘Poetry of Colour’, in Writing the Great War/Comment écrire la Grande Guerre? (2017), 33-48

‘Les points de tangence de Sylvie Germain’, in Sylvie Germain devant le mystère, le fantastique, le merveilleux, ed. Alain Goulet, Presses universitaires de Caen, 2015, 93-99

‘Jean Grenier and the “Spirit of Orthodoxy”, in God’s Mirror (2014), 88-103

‘The Embodied Philosophy of Jean Grenier’, in Embodiment: Phenomenological, Religious and Deconstructive Views on Living and Dying, ed. Ramona Fotiade, David Jasper, and Olivier Salazar-Ferrer, Ashgate, 2014, 217-229

‘Newman at the Sorbonne, or, The Vicissitudes of an Important Philosophical Heritage in Interwar France’, History of European Ideas, 40.6, 2014, 788-803

‘What Happened to the Catholic Novel?’ (état présent), French Studies, 66.2, April 2012, 222-230

‘Sylvie Germain : Fable, cri, echolalia’, in Narratives of French Modernity: Themes, Forms and Metamorphosis (Festschrift for David Gascoigne), ed. Lorna Milne and Mary Orr, Peter Lang, 2011, 279-299

‘Les figures de l’écho chez Sylvie Germain’, in La Langue de Sylvie Germain : “En mouvement d’écriture”, ed. Cécile Narjoux and Jacques Dürrenmatt, Editions Universitaires de Dijon, 2011, 101-112

‘Jean Grenier entre Chestov et Jankélévitch : l’instant, la liberté, le choix, la création’, in Léon Chestov – Vladimir Jankélévitch : du tragique à l’ineffable, ed. Ramona Fotiade and Françoise Schwab, Editions Beauchesne, 2011, 199-214

‘Patrice de La Tour du Pin lecteur de Newman’, in Patrice de La Tour du Pin, un poète de notre temps, ed. Isabelle Renaud-Chamska, Lethielleux, coll. ‘Parole et silence’, 2011, 63-69

‘Un passeur de la pensée existentielle : Jean Grenier’, Europe, 972, avril 2010, 221-232

‘En dehors du jugement des yeux : Léon Chestov…’, Europe, 960, avril 2009, 173-180

‘Sylvie Germain et Emmanuel Levinas’, in L’Univers de Sylvie Germain, ed. Alain Goulet, Presses de l’Université de Caen, 2008, 79-88

‘Situating Camus : The Formative Influences’, in The Cambridge Companion to Camus, ed. Edward Hughes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 26-38

‘Camus between Malraux and Grenier: Violence, Ethics and Art’’, in Violent Histories, ed. David Gascoigne (New York and Bern: Peter Lang, 2007), 79-91

‘Deux nouvelles de 1925 : Julien Green et Jean Grenier’, in Julien Green, un voyageur sur la terre, ed. Valérie Catelain and Hélène Dottin, Travaux et recherches (Lille: Université Charles-de-Gaulle-Lille 3, 2006), 109-116

Editor, with Jane Taylor, The Anatomy of Laughter (Oxford: Legenda, 2005)

‘La Musique d’une vie: le cas de la petite pomme’, in Andreï Makine : Soil and Soul, ed. Margaret Parry and Edward Welch (Paris: Harmattan, 2005), 17-26

“Ceci sort du cadre limité de cet essai”: Jean Grenier and the essay as art form’, in The Modern Essay in French: Movement, Instability, Performance, ed. Charles Forsdick and Andrew Stafford, Modern French Identities, 41 (New York-Bern etc: Peter Lang, 2005), 166-177

Editor, Sylvie Germain: rose des vents et de l’ailleurs, Critiques littéraires (L’Harmattan, 2003)

Editor, Daniel Halévy, Henri Petit, et les Cahiers Verts, ‘Le Romantisme et après en France’ (Peter Lang, 2003)

‘Translating Éluard’, in: Double Vision: Studies in Literary Translation (University of Durham Press, 2002), 35-51

‘Patrice de La Tour du Pin’, in: Dictionary of Literary Biography vol. 258: Modern French Poets (Gale Group, 2002), 271-284

‘Jean Grenier et le mysticisme’, Rencontres avec Jean Sulivan, 13 (2002), 129-138

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