Toril Moi

is James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Romance Studies and Professor of English and Theater Studies at Duke University. She is the author of Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory (1985; 2nd edition 2002), Simone de Beauvoir: The Making of an Intellectual Woman (1994) and What Is a Woman? And Other Essays (1999). Toril Moi is also the editor of The Kristeva Reader (1986) and French Feminist Thought (1987). Her most recent book is Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy (2006).


‘I am not a woman writer’

About women, literature and feminist theory today

In the 70s and 80s, many women found the female in literature inspiring but then Nathalie Sarraute snarled in an interview: “When I write I am neither man nor woman nor dog nor cat.” To her, the notion of female or male writing – écriture féminine ou masculine – was totally void of meaning. Moi finds that since then the discussion has gone nowhere. “To make women second rate citizens of the world of literature is to say that the female experience of the world carries less value than the male.”

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