Benjamin Madden

Dr Benjamin Madden

Scholarly Teaching Fellow

School of Humanities

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

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.

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2021 Madden, B. (2021). Mētis in Modern Life. James Joyce Quarterly, 59(1), 75-90.
    2021 Madden, B. (2021). James Merrill's Sprezzatura. The Cambridge Quarterly, 50(3), 219-241.
    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.
    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.
    2017 Madden, B. (2017). Review of 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.
    2015 Madden, B. (2015). Collecting as Modernist Practice by Jeremy Braddock, and: Transatlantic Avant-Gardes: Little Magazines and Localist Modernism by Eric B. White (review). Wallace Stevens Journal, 39(1), 123-127.
    2012 Madden, B. (2012). What’s So Ordinary about Stevens’ ‘The Ordinary Women’?. Wallace Stevens Journal, 36(1), 9-22.
    DOI WoS1
    2012 Madden, B. (2012). Modernism and the Ordinary. MODERNISM-MODERNITY, 19(2), 387-389.
    2011 Rainey, L., Attwell, D., Madden, B., & Coetzee, J. M. (2011). An Interview with J. M. Coetzee. MODERNISM-MODERNITY, 18(4), 847-853.
    DOI WoS4
    2011 Madden, B. (2011). Arnold Bennett and the Making of Sweeney Agonistes. Notes and Queries, 58(1), 106-110.
  • 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 (pp. 129-138). Sydney, NSW, Australia: 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 (Vol. 8, pp. 301-320). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
    2003 Murphet, J., & Rainford, L. (2003). Literature and visual technologies: Writing after cinema. In J. Murphet, & L. Rainford (Eds.), Unknown Book (pp. 1-220). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
    DOI Scopus18
  • Conference Items

    Year Citation
    2021 Madden, B. (2021). Has Critique Run Out of Steam, or Have We Barely Even Tried It?. Poster session presented at the meeting of Situations of Theory. Flinders University & University of Adelaide.
    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
    2024 Baltussen, J. N., Zhang, M., & Madden, B. (2024). 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.

2021: Research Maintenance for “We Are All Nietzscheans Now”: Decadence, Reaction, and Australian Modernism ($500)

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)

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Co-Supervisor Noir Aesthetics in East Asian Cinema Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Kristian Glenn Ramsden
    2023 Co-Supervisor Instructions for Life: A novella manuscript and companion exegesis Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Dr Thea Williams
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 - ongoing Principal Supervisor ‘It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them’: Dynamics of Desire in the Cinema of Girlhood University of Adelaide - Honours - Pearl Brooks
    2022 - ongoing Principal Supervisor The Rhetoric of Violence in Pre- and Post-First World War Modernism University of Adelaide - Honours - Gal Yanchman
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2009 - 2013 Editor Modernism/Modernity University of York United Kingdom
  • Event Participation

    Date Event Name Event Type Institution Country
    2021 - 2011 Samuel Beckett: Out of the Archive Conference Conference University of York United Kingdom
    2013 - 2013 Ordinary/Everyday/Quotidian Conference Conference University of York United Kingdom
  • Position: Scholarly Teaching Fellow
  • Phone: 83135614
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier
  • Org Unit: English, Creative Writing

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