BA and MSt (Oxford); PhD (Cambridge)
I joined the School of English in 2017. Prior to this I was a Lecturer at the Open University and a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. I have taught both literature and creative writing.
My research encompasses prose writing from the nineteenth century to the present day, with a particular focus on the long post-war to present period. I take a broad interest in aesthetics and am especially interested in the ethical and philosophical possibilities of style. My monograph, Novel Style: Ethics and Excess in English Fiction since the 1960s (Oxford University Press, 2017), examines the ethical affect of so-called excessive writing in the post-war to present period, with chapters on Anthony Burgess, Angela Carter, Martin Amis, Zadie Smith, Nicola Barker and David Mitchell, and addresses the ethical turn in contemporary literary criticism. I've also written on Ali Smith, H. G. Wells, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan, among others.
I have also published fiction. My first novel, Noughties, was published by Penguin and Hamish Hamilton in the UK and Hogarth (Crown) in the US, and in 2013 I wrote a flash fiction commissioned by the BBC. I review and write on literature regularly in the national press, most frequently for the Times Literary Supplement and Literary Review, as well as the Guardian, New York Times and NPR. I have discussed my work at a variety of literary festivals and public events, and on BBC radio.
I teach widely on modern and contemporary literature. Presently I contribute to the following modules:
Studying Literature; Victorian and Fin de Siecle Literature 1830-1910; Dark Futures, Tainted Pasts (Gothic and Dystopian Literature); Contemporary Fiction; Literature and Popular Culture; Modern and Contemporary Literature; Academic Community.
Literary Histories; Literature in Britain post-1950; What is Literature?; Approaches to Text.
I welcome proposals from potential PhD students on fiction of the post-war to present day period, literary style, ethical criticism, and the relationships between creative and critical practice.
BEN MASTERS, ed., 2021. 'Style', a special issue of Textual Practice 35(6).
BEN MASTERS, 2021. 'The New Stylism' Textual Practice. 35(6), 901-919
BEN MASTERS, 2021. 'Adjustment-Style: From H.G. Wells to Ali Smith and the Metamodern Novel' Textual Practice. 35(6), 967-995
BEN MASTERS, 2021. 'Chemical Bonds' [review of Richard Powers, Bewilderment] Times Literary Supplement.
I welcome interest from prospective doctoral students engaging with any of the following broad areas: post-war and contemporary fiction, the modern novel, style, ethical criticism.