Professor Ben Hutchinson

Director of Graduate Studies (Division of Arts and Humanities),
Professor of European Literature,
Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research (Kent Business School)
+44 (0)1227 823077
Professor Ben Hutchinson


Ben Hutchinson has been Professor of European Literature at the University of Kent since 2012. His research ranges widely across European - and especially, German - literature; publications include the monographs Rilke’s Poetics of Becoming (Legenda, 2006), W.G. Sebald. Die dialektische Imagination (De Gruyter, 2009), Modernism and Style (Palgrave, 2011), Lateness and Modern European Literature (Oxford University Press, 2016), Comparative Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2018), and The Midlife Mind (Reaktion/Chicago, 2020). His most recent book, On Purpose: Ten Lessons on the Meaning of Life (2023), has just appeared with 4th Estate. His work has been translated into numerous languages including Chinese, Korean, Persian, and Portuguese.

Ben has lectured at institutions across the world, including at Oxford, Heidelberg, Harvard, Jerusalem, and the ENS Paris. In 2005-7, he was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach; in 2011, he was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize; in 2012-13, he was a Visiting Professor at Montpellier III; in 2015, a Visiting Fellow at the Forschungsverbund Marbach-Weimar-Wolfenbüttel; in 2021, he won the Forum for Modern Languages Prize. He has evaluated research across Europe and has undertaken numerous roles as external examiner and programme reviewer both in the UK and abroad. 

Amongst other activities, Ben is a Contributing Editor at the Times Literary Supplement, a regular contributor to the Literary Reviewformer Secretary of the British Comparative Literature Association, Fellow of the Academia Europaea, and founder of the UK's first Summer School on comparative literature. From 2019-20, he served as Academic Director of the University's Paris School of Arts and Culture. In 2023, he was Visiting Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles; in 2024, he is spending the spring semester as Visiting Professor at La Sorbonne Nouvelle.

Ben's lecture on comparative literature, as part of the University's 'Think Kent' series, is available to watch online.  

For more about On Purpose, listen to a podcast from the London Writers’ Salon


Ben Hutchinson teaches modules on modern German literature and culture.

Last updated