The Einar Hansen Lecture 2019

Knausgård: In Search of a New Form

by Toril Moi

In this lecture Toril Moi argues that Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle represents something new in literary history. She reads My Struggle as a writer's search for a new form, an attempt to find an answer to the question: What comes after postmodernism? She shows that Knausgaard's concept of form is utterly at odds with the traditional concept of form developed by literary critics in the wake of modernism. That concept was formalist: it made us believe that form can be discussed without reference to meaning, effects, content, feelings, experiences and so on. Through an attentive reading of My Struggle, Toril Moi raises the question of wether it is possible to develop a non-formalist notion of literary form.

Toril Moi is James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Romance Studies, and Professor of Philosophy, English, and Theater Studies at Duke University. She has published a number of books and many essays on literary theory, feminist theory, Simone de Beauvoir, Henrik Ibsen, and ordinary language philosophy in the tradition of Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell. Important works include Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory (1985), What Is a Woman? and Other Essays (1999) and Henrik Ibsen and the Birth of Modernism: Art, Theater, Philosophy (2006).

Her latest book is Revolution of the Ordinary: Literary Studies after Wittgenstein, Austin, and Cavell(Chicago, 2017). In Swedish her essay Språk och uppmärksamhet (translated by Alva Dahl) was published by Faethon in 2017.

More information about her life and work can be found on her website:


(The lecture begins at 13:43)

Toril Moi
Toril Moi is James B. Duke Professor of Literature and Romance Studies, Professor of English, Philosophy, and Theatre Studies.
Page Manager: iwcss.administratorssol.luse | 2020-07-02