Professor Toby GarfittBack to People

Subjects: Classics and Modern Languages, European and Middle Eastern Languages, Modern Languages (and Joint Honours)
Department: Medieval and Modern Languages
College appointment: Tutorial Fellow
Phone: 01865 276076


I did my undergraduate degree at Magdalen, where I was one of the first to take the new Joint School of Modern History and Modern Languages, graduating in 1973. A doctorate then followed, on Albert Camus’s teacher and mentor Jean Grenier. After four years teaching at the University of St Andrews, I returned to Magdalen as Fellow and Tutor in French in 1980.


I teach French language (grammar, prose, translation into English) and literature (19th and 20th/21st centuries, and the Prelims syllabus). Special Subjects taught: French Literature and Modern War; Francophone Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. Lecture courses: French Versification; Aimé Césaire (both for Prelims); Gide; Camus; Mauriac and the Catholic Novel; Literature and Commitment.

Research Interests

20th/21st-century literature, including Gide, Camus, Grenier, Mauriac, Patrice de La Tour du Pin and other Catholic writers, Sylvie Germain, Andrei Makine, Francophone Literature

Selected Publications

  • God’s Mirror: Renewal and Engagement in French Catholic Intellectual Culture in the Mid-Twentieth Century, edited by Toby Garfitt and Katherine Davies (Fordham University Press, 2014)
  • Jean Grenier – Jean Guéhenno, Correspondance (1927-1969), edited by Toby Garfitt (Rennes, La Part Commune, 2011)
  • Jean Grenier, un écrivain et un maître. Contribution à l’histoire intellectuelle du vingtième siècle (Rennes, La Part Commune, 2010)
  • Sylvie Germain, rose des vents et de l’ailleurs, edited by Toby Garfitt (Paris, L’Harmattan, 2003)
  • François Mauriac, Thérèse Desqueyroux (Grant & Cutler Critical Guides, 2nd ed. 1997)
  • ‘Situating Camus : The Formative Influences’, in The Cambridge Companion to Camus, edited by Edward Hughes (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • ‘Patrice de la Tour du Pin’, in Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 258: Modern French Poets (Gale Group, 2002)
  • How to Write the Great War, edited by Toby Garfitt and Nicolas Bianchi (Peter Lang, scheduled for publication in 2017).