Ben Etherington

Ben Etherington

is a Research Lecturer with the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and a member of the Writing & Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University.


About Ben Etherington

Ben Etherington is a Research Lecturer with the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and a member of the Writing & Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University.


Articles about Ben Etherington

Articles by Ben Etherington

Craveñho’s Universe

'The performative specialist critic is a particularly rare creature. It is a position that few desire to occupy or are capable of doing so. Over the last twenty-five years, one figure has managed resolutely to make this position his own in Australian literary criticism: Peter Craven. The scale of Craven’s output alone compels awe, even when the inevitable repetitions and shortcuts are taken into consideration.'

This Little University Went To Market

Ben Etherington on the Hills Hoist effect and the reification of HECS

Marlon James and the challenge of the creole narrator

‘The Booker needs this year’s winner, Marlon James’s A Brief History of Seven Killings, and, fortunately on this occasion the judges haven’t gotten in the way. The novel, however, does not need the prize. This isn’t because it already had won a number of prizes; but because its imaginative force is self-evident and does not require the objectification of value that prizes provide. This is not to say that everyone who reads the novel will enjoy it, but that the enjoyment of any given reader is secondary to the novel’s own originality of conception and technical execution. Nor is this to say that its execution is perfect – like anything new, its failings are an essential part of it.’ Ben Etherington on Marlon James and post-independence West Indian fiction.

Sophie Cape A shiny bone under a heavy light-2015

The Poet Tasters

No one believes that most Australian poetry volumes are a couple of edits or a tempered excess away from being a perfect version of themselves, but this is what, en masse, the reviews tell us. A biddable reader will have the impression that all debutants are ones to watch; that, three volumes in, all poets have consolidated their style; and that after five or more volumes they are accomplished and take their place in the nation’s poetic story. The quantum of praise does not add up.

Universities and the Block

Pyne is attempting to divert the function and aims of knowledge in our society. His policy clinches and fully institutionalises the worldview that understands education entirely as a private good. The public benefits of major scientific discovery, rigorous social diagnosis, and cultural imagination will henceforth be the generous efflorescence of private ambition.

The Real Deal: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

How do we understand the critical response to Hannah Kent's Burial Rites? In order to distinguish authentic aesthetic judgements amongst the reviews it will help to consider the way the advance for Burial Rites fits into the logic of trade book publishing.

Road to omission

How do you review the ‘experimental novel’? Critic Watch turns its gaze to the reviews of Anthony Macris’ Great Western Highway: A Love Story (Capital, Volume One, Part Two).

Critic Watch: Summer Review

Hobbyist doggerel and Booty Calls: Ben Etherington on Quadrant, government subsidies, and the Books of the Year. Plus a response from Jennifer Maiden.

The Brain Feign: All That I Am
by Anna Funder

The question of book reviewing has flared up, again. Critic Watch's Ben Etherington examines the Anna Funder phenomenon.