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Ben Masters

Assistant Professor in Literature 1880 to the present, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

BA and MSt (Oxford); PhD (Cambridge)

I joined the School of English in 2017 as an Assistant Professor in English Literature (1880-present). 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. As well as scholarly research, I write fiction and have written reviews and essays for Times Literary Supplement, Guardian, New York Times, Literary Review and Five Dials, amongst other publications.

Teaching Summary

I teach widely on modern and contemporary literature. Presently I contribute to the following modules:

Undergraduate:

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.

Postgraduate:

Literary Histories; Literature in Britain post-1950; Literary Geographies

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.

Research Summary

My research, broadly speaking, encompasses prose writing (especially the novel form) from the nineteenth century to the present day, with a particular focus on the long post-war to present period. I… read more

Recent Publications

  • BEN MASTERS, 2019. 'The Mid-Atlantics'. In: PETER BOXALL, ed., The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction 1980 - the Present Cambridge University Press. (In Press.)
  • BEN MASTERS, 2019. Indie Style: Nicola Barker and a Turn-of-the-Century Aesthetic. In: BERTHOLD SCHOENE, ed., Nicola Barker: Critical Essays Glyphi. (In Press.)
  • BEN MASTERS, 2019. 'Treasured Kinks' Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2019. The End of the End of the Earth Times Literary Supplement. (In Press.)

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.

Current Research

My research, broadly speaking, encompasses prose writing (especially the novel form) from the nineteenth century to the present day, with a particular focus on the long post-war to present period. I am 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 and political 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 simultaneously addresses the ethical turn in contemporary literary criticism.

I am currently working on several projects, including: a study of the literary set that centred on Amis, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie et al. in the late-twentieth century (considering these writers and their peers as part of a distinctive literary coterie); the re-emergence of style as a prominent critical topic and the concurrent rise of a politically and ethically conscious formalism; and the meaning of the 'novelistic' (including the peculiarity of the novel, as well as the wider applications of the novelistic beyond the novel form).

I also write fiction. My first novel is called Noughties (Penguin, 2012), and I am working on my second at present. I review and write on literature regularly in the national press.

  • BEN MASTERS, 2019. 'The Mid-Atlantics'. In: PETER BOXALL, ed., The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction 1980 - the Present Cambridge University Press. (In Press.)
  • BEN MASTERS, 2019. Indie Style: Nicola Barker and a Turn-of-the-Century Aesthetic. In: BERTHOLD SCHOENE, ed., Nicola Barker: Critical Essays Glyphi. (In Press.)
  • BEN MASTERS, 2019. 'Treasured Kinks' Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2019. The End of the End of the Earth Times Literary Supplement. (In Press.)
  • BEN MASTERS, 2018. ‘Casting for the Truth’ Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2018. ‘Late-Stage Slimming’ Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2018. ‘Missing Pieces’ Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2018. ‘Night on the Town’ Literary Review.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2017. Novel Style: Ethics and Excess in English Fiction since the 1960s Oxford University Press.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2017. ‘Portrait of the Artist-Critic’ Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2017. 'The Real Thing' Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2016. 'A Change of View: H. G. Wells and Adjustment-Style' Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2015. 'Living the Dream in Milton Keynes' Guardian.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2014. 'From the Family' Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2013. 'Things I Don't Want to Know': [short story commissioned for BBC Radio 4]
  • BEN MASTERS, 2013. ‘Martin Amis’s Yellow Dog’ NPR.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2013. 'Bangs a Drum' Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2012. Noughties: A Novel Penguin.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2012. 'A Short Defense of Literary Excess' New York Times.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2012. 'Live for Style: A Clockwork Orange and its creator, fifty years on' Times Literary Supplement.
  • BEN MASTERS, 2012. 'On Style' Five Dials. 27,

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