Benjamin Madden

Dr Benjamin Madden

Visiting Research Fellow

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.


I was trained in literary studies (with minors in French and philosophy) at the Universities of Adelaide and York (UK). While a graduate student at York, I worked as Reviews Editor and then Managing Editor of the leading academic journal Modernism/modernity.

After graduating from York, I moved to Beijing and taught during 2015 and 2016 at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, where I gave survey courses in British and American literature.

After that, I returned to Adelaide and have been teaching across a variety of courses in the Faculty of Arts ever since, particularly in the Department of English and Creative Literature, but also in Asian Studies and the Faculty's generalist course "The Enquiring Mind."

My research spans the modernist period in British and American literature, and I am particularly interested in the intersections of literary studies and philosophy (this is not to say "Theory"). I have also published in the areas of Australian literature and Australia-China cultural relations.

For more information on my current projects see My Research, below.

I am a scholar of modernist literature, with a particular interest in T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, and (perhaps above all) Wallace Stevens. My particular angle on modernism is the conspicuous interest of modernist writers and philosophers in the ordinary, aspects of which mark both breaks and continuities with the literature of the past.

My current book project, "Seven Types of Ordinary," explores seven facets of the modernist ordinary, guided by the hypothesis that this cultural turn is prompted by what I call a "crisis of normativity," with ramifications for both aesthetic and political life. I articulate this concept with reference to both recent work in the Frankfurt School tradition of critical theory, and neglected strands of thought about normativity contemporary to modernism.

At the same time, this work contains a meta-critical element in that it posits a continuity between the cultural dynamic in which modernist literature and thought intervenes and our own time, a continuity that has been obscured by certain tendencies within the discipline of literary studies itself.

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  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2021 Madden, B. (2021). Mētis in Modern Life. James Joyce Quarterly.
    2021 Madden, B. (2021). James Merrill's Sprezzatura. The Cambridge Quarterly.
    2021 Madden, B. (2021). In Memoriam: Lawrence Rainey. Make it New: The Ezra Pound Society Magazine.
    2020 Madden, B. (2020). Conceiving Otherness. Sydney Review of Books.
    2018 Madden, B. (2018). The Idea of a Colony: Eliot and Stevens in Australia. Wallace Stevens Journal, 42(1), 77-98.
    DOI
    2017 Madden, B. (2017). “In the Metaphysical Streets of the Physical Town”: place and the ordinary in Stevens’s “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven”. Modern Philology, 114(3), 747-771.
    DOI
    2017 Madden, B. (2017). COOL CHARACTERS Irony and American fiction. TLS-THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, (5946), 31.
    2016 Madden, B. (2016). James Merrill: Life and Art by Langdon Hammer. Modernism/modernity, 23(1), 261-263.
    DOI
    2015 Madden, B. (2015). Collecting as Modernist Practice by Jeremy Braddock, and: Transatlantic Avant-Gardes: Little Magazines and Localist Modernism by Eric B. White. Wallace Stevens Journal, 39(1), 123-127.
    DOI
    2012 Madden, B. (2012). What’s So Ordinary about Stevens’ ‘The Ordinary Women’?. Wallace Stevens Journal, 36(1), 9-22.
    DOI
    2012 Madden, B. (2012). <i>Modernism and the Ordinary</i> (review). Modernism/modernity, 19(2), 387-389.
    DOI
    2011 Rainey, L., Attwell, D., & Madden, B. (2011). An Interview with J. M. Coetzee. Modernism/modernity, 18(4), 847-853.
    DOI
    2011 Madden, B. (2011). Arnold Bennett and the Making of Sweeney Agonistes. Notes and Queries, 58(1), 106-110.
    DOI
  • Books

    Year Citation
    2021 Jose, N., & Madden, B. (Eds.) (2021). Antipodean China: Reflections on Literary Exchange. Giramondo Publishing.
  • Book Chapters

    Year Citation
    2021 Madden, B. (2021). Conceiving Otherness: Simon Leys in China and Australia. In B. Madden, & R. Jose (Eds.), Antipodean China: Reflections on Literary Exchange. Giramondo Publishing.
    2021 Jose, R. (2021). Afterword. In R. Jose, & B. Madden (Eds.), Antipodean China: Reflections on Literary Exchange (1 ed., pp. 214-234). Artarmon, NSW: Giramondo.
    2021 Jose, R., & Madden, B. (2021). Reading each other: China and Australia. In N. Jose, & B. Madden (Eds.), Antipodean China: Reflections on Literary Exchange (1 ed., pp. 3-7). Artarmon, NSW: Giramondo Publishing.
    2015 Madden, B. (2015). 'Of What Disaster is This the Imminence’: ‘The Auroras of Autumn’ and the Christian Apocalypse. In E. Tonning, M. Feldman, & D. Addyman (Eds.), Modernism, Christianity, and Apocalypse (pp. 301-320). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
    2003 Murphet, J., & Rainford, L. (2003). Literature and visual technologies: Writing after cinema. In Unknown Book (pp. 1-220). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
    DOI Scopus13
  • Conference Items

    Year Citation
    2017 Madden, B. (2017). Three Poets and Two Types of Ordinary. Poster session presented at the meeting of MLA Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA.
    2012 Madden, B. (2012). ‘The Auroras of Autumn’ and the Christian Apocalypse. Poster session presented at the meeting of Modernism, Christianity, and Apocalypse. University of Bergen, Norway.
    2011 Madden, B. (2011). The Everyday Life of J. Alfred Prufrock. Poster session presented at the meeting of T. S. Eliot Society Annual Conference. Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris.
  • Curated or Produced Public Exhibition or Events

    Year Citation
    2011 Madden, B. (2011). Samuel Beckett: A Life in Photographs (No. Of Pieces: 12 min.) [Exhibition]. University of York Creative Technology Centre.
  • Theses

    Year Citation
    2014 Madden, B. D. (2014). The Rhetoric of the Ordinary: Modernism at the Limits of Literature. (PhD Thesis, University of York).
  • Working Paper

    Year Citation
    2021 Baltussen, J. N., Zhang, M., & Madden, B. (2021). How to Start an Empire: A Comparative Analysis of the First Emperors in Rome and China.

I received Holbeck and Gavron Trust Scholarships for my PhD research. In 2015 I was awarded a Huntington Library Short-Term Fellowship to examine the Wallace Stevens papers, and I traveled from Beijing to Los Angeles in January/February 2016 to do so.

Courses Convened:

Literature and Society in Victorian Britain (S1, 2017)

Introduction to Cultural Studies (S1, 2020; S1, 2021)

Courses Tutored:

The Enquiring Mind (S2, 2016; S1, 2018; S1&2, 2019; S1&2, 2020; S1, 2021)

Landmarks in Literature (S2, 2017)

The Question of Postmodernism: Texts and Issues (S2, 2017)

Asia and the World (S2, 2018) 

Ways of Reading (S2, 2018)

Modernisms (S1, 2020)

Prison Writing: Liberty and Language (S1, 2021)

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  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2009 - 2013 Editor Modernism/Modernity University of York United Kingdom
  • Position: Visiting Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83135812
  • Email: benjamin.madden@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier
  • Room: 6
  • Org Unit: English and Creative Writing

Connect With Me
External Profiles