Dr John Attridge

Senior Lecturer
B.A. Hons (University of Sydney) Ph.D. (University of Sydney)
School of the Arts & Media


+61 2 9385 4484
+61 2 9385 6812
Room RM 228, Level 2, Robert Webster
Kensington Campus
Fields: Comparative Literature Studies, British and Irish Literature, North American Literature, Literature in French
Tags: Languages and literature


I am Senior Lecturer in English in the School of the Arts and Media. I completed my PhD at the University of Sydney in 2007 and taught at the Université Paris 7 before starting at UNSW in 2009. My research is on Anglo-American and French modernisms, with a particular focus on the work of Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford, Henry James and Marcel Proust. Other research interests include modernist magazines, Liberalism, media and the cultural history of trust. 

I am completing a book manuscript entitled "The Invisible Vocation: Early Modernism and Professional Society", which examines the work of Joseph Conrad, Ford Madox Ford and Henry James in the context of professionalism and occupational specialisation. I use Marcel Proust's paradoxical phrase "the invisible vocation" to refer to a basic tension in the idea of a professional novelist: the historical genre of the novel is committed in a variety of ways to generalness and wholeness, but these commitments sit uneasily with the modernist impulse to see art as a specialised professional occupation. James, Conrad and Ford were attracted by many aspects of professionalism, but they also encountered a number of irreconcilable contradictions between literature and professionalization. This book examines the various imaginative strategies all three authors deployed to attempt to resolve these contradictions.



    • Attridge J; Rosenquist R, (eds.), 2013, Incredible Modernism: Literature, Trust and Deception, 2013, Ashgate, Farnham

    Book Chapters

    • Attridge J, 2016, 'Conrad, G.E. Moore and Idealism', in Hampson R; Baxter KI (ed.), Conrad and Language, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 44 - 63, https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-conrad-and-language-hb.html
    • Attridge J, 2015, 'Mind, body and embarrassment in Henry James's The Awkward Age', in Taylor J (ed.), Modernism and Affect: Feeling in Modern Literature and Culture, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 20 - 38, https://global.oup.com/academic/product/modernism-and-affect-9780748693252
    • Attridge J, 2015, 'Ford and Conrad', in Hawkes R; Chantler A (ed.), An Introduction to Ford Madox Ford, edn. Original, Ashgate, Farnham, pp. 23 - 36, https://www.routledge.com/products/9781472469083
    • Attridge J, 2014, 'Mythomaniac modernism: lying and bullshit in Flann O'Brien', in McDonald R; Murphet J (ed.), Strange Enlightenments: Flann O'Brien and Modernism, Bloomsbury, New York, pp. 27 - 40, http://www.bloomsbury.com/au/flann-obrien-modernism-9781623568757/
    • Attridge J, 2014, ''A taboo on the mention of taboo': Englishness and taciturnity in Parade's End and André Maurois' Les Silences du colonel Bramble', in Hawkes R; Chantler A (ed.), Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End: The First World War, Culture, and Modernity, Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 23 - 37, http://rodopi.nl/ntalpha.asp?BookId=IFMFS+13&type=coming&letter=G
    • Attridge J, 2013, 'Episodic trust: self, society and sociology in A la recherche du temps perdu', in Attridge J; Rosenquist R (ed.), Incredible Modernism: Literature, Trust and Deception, edn. 2013, Ashgate, Farnham, pp. 199 - 214
    • Attridge J, 2013, 'Eclecticism and its discontents: Les Ecrits nouveaux (1917-22) and La Revue européenne (1923-31)', in Brooker P; Bru S; Thacker A; Weikop C (ed.), The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume III: Europe 1880 - 1940, edn. Original, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 203 - 218
    • Attridge J, 2013, 'Introduction: Literature, trust and deception', in Attridge J; Rosenquist R (ed.), Incredible Modernism: Literature, Trust and Deception, edn. 2013, Ashgate, Farnham, pp. 1 - 20
    • Attridge J, 2010, 'Liberalism and Modernism in the Edwardian Era: New Liberals at Ford's English Review', in Harding J (ed.), Ford Madox Ford, Modernist Magazines and Editing, edn. Original, Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 169 - 184
    • Attridge J, 2010, 'Murray Bail', in Shaffer BW (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, edn. Original, Wiley-Blackwell, UK
    • Attridge J, 2008, ''We Will Listen to None but Specialists': Ford, the rise of specialization, and the English Review', in Gasiorek A; Moore D (ed.), Ford Madox Ford. Literary Networks and Cultural Transformations, edn. Original, Rodopi, Amsterdam, pp. 29 - 42

    Journal articles

    • Attridge J, 2014, 'Nonsense, ordinary language philosophy and Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman', Modern Fiction Studies, vol. 60, pp. 298 - 319, 10.1353/mfs.2014.0028
    • Attridge J, 2013, 'Two types of secret agency: Conrad, causation and popular spy fiction', Texas Studies in Literature and Language, vol. 55, pp. 125 - 158, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/texas_studies_in_literature_and_language/v055/55.2.attridge.html
    • Attridge J, 2012, 'Review essay: The Saddest Tory (review of Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End)', Modernism-Modernity, vol. 19, pp. 799 - 803, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/modernism-modernity/v019/19.4.attridge.html
    • Attridge J, 2011, '"Human expertness": Professionalism, training, and the prefaces to the New York Edition', Henry James Review, vol. 32, pp. 29 - 44
    • Attridge J, 2011, 'The Lesson of the Master: Learning and Cognition in What Maisie Knew', Sydney Studies in English, vol. 37, pp. 22 - 43, http://escholarship.usyd.edu.au/journals/index.php/SSE/issue/current
    • Attridge J, 2010, '"The yellow-dog thing": Joseph Conrad, verisimilitude, and professionalism', ELH - English Literary History, vol. 77, pp. 267 - 296, 10.1353/elh.0.0081
    • Attridge J, 2010, 'Review essay: Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker, eds, The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume I, Britain and Ireland 1880 - 1955 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)', Journal of Katherine Mansfield Studies, vol. 1, pp. 196- - 201
    • Attridge J, 2009, 'Review essay: Paris, capital of the nineteenth-century novel?', Modernism-Modernity, vol. 16, pp. 167 - 171, 10.1353/mod.0.0055
    • Attridge J, 2008, 'Steadily and whole: Ford Madox Ford and modernist sociology', Modernism - Modernity, vol. 15, pp. 297 - 315
    • Attridge J, 2004, 'Detourism: Murray Bail's photographic fiction', Journal of Commonwealth Literature, vol. 39, pp. 69 - 91, 10.1177/0021989404047047


I convene "ARTS2036: Modernism Text and Screen" and "ARTS1031: Introduction to English: Early Modern to Modern". I welcome PhD and Honours projects on modernist and contemporary literature, the history of authorship, the history and theory of the novel and literary periodicals and little magazines.

Honours and prizes

ANU Humanities Research Centre Fellow 2016

Bruce Harkness Young Conrad Scholar Award 2010

Harry Ransom Center Fellow 2009-10

Australian Postgraduate Award