Samuel Hodgkin

Samuel Hodgkin's picture
Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature
320 York St, New Haven, CT 06511 Room 331
+1 (203) 432-2740


I am a literary scholar and cultural historian of medieval and modern Eurasia. My research deals with literature and criticism written in prestige languages (Persian and Russian) and vernaculars (especially Turkic languages). I am interested in classical Persianate poetry and its afterlife in modernist literature and literary institutions across Central and South Asia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. I study and teach topics in genre and translation theory, canon formation, world literature, and historical poetics.

My first book, Persianate Verse and the Poetics of Eastern Internationalism (Cambridge University Press, December 2023), shows how the Soviet internationalist project of world literature emerged from sustained engagement between leftist writers of West and South Asia and state-sponsored writers of the multinational Soviet East, who drew on their shared Persianate literary training to articulate a postcolonial poetics of political representation. I have also published articles on lyric poetry, theater, anthologies, and translation practices in the modern Persianate zone. I am a co-organizer of the Cultures of World Socialism Working Group, and the editor of a special issue of Comparative Literature Studies based on our conversations entitled “Communist World Poetics,” forthcoming in the spring 2024. My own contribution to the issue discusses the institution of the national poet after the age of Romantic nationalism.


B.A./M.A., Harvard University, 2008.

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2018.


Persianate Verse and the Poetics of Eastern Internationalism (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

“The Poetics of Persianate Disaffiliation: Recusative Gestures for a Royal Genre.” Philological Encounters 8, no. 2 (2023), special issue, “In the Wake of the Persianate”: 281-304.

“Soviet Persian Anthologies: Transnational, Multinational, International,” Iranian Studies 55, no. 3 (2022), special issue, Persian Classics in Modern Canons: 631-651.

“Persian Poetry in the Second-World Translation System.” In The Routledge Handbook of Persian Literary Translation, eds. Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi, Patricia J. Higgins, and Michelle Quay (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2022), 427-446.

“Classical Persian Canons of the Revolutionary Press: Abū al-Qāsim Lāhūtī’s Circles in Istanbul and Moscow,” in Persian Literature and Modernity: Production and Reception, eds. Arshavez Mozafari and Hamid Rezaei Yazdi (London and New York: Routledge, 2018), 185-212.

“Revolutionary Springtimes: Reading Soviet Persian Poetry, from Ghazal to Lyric,” in Iranian Languages and Literatures of Central Asia: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present, eds. Matteo De Chiara and Evelin Grassi (Paris: Association pour l’Avancement des Études Iraniennes, 2015), 273-305. “

“Romance, Passion Play, Optimistic Tragedy: Soviet National Theater and the Reforging of Farhad,” in Cahiers d’Asie centrale no. 24: Littérature et société en Asie centrale, ed. Gulnara Aitpaeva (Paris: Éditions Pétra, 2015), 239-266.

Works in Progress

Articles currently in preparation deal with the idol as a rhetorical device in comparative Eurasian metapoetics, the politics of the scholarly category of the Persianate and its second-world counterparts, and Middle Eastern poetic modernity beyond modernism. I am also preparing translations of several major short works of modern Central Asian literature and literary criticism for two forthcoming anthologies. Two book-length projects are in the early stages: “Beautiful Idols: Lyric Mimesis and the Birth of Persianate Poetics”; and “The Practical Interpretation of Poetry: 500 Years of Persianate Manuals for Soothsaying, Propaganda, and Other Useful Purposes.” Other projects in development deal with the works of the Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov; the intellectual history of the spurious “Khazar hypothesis”; and the leftist tradition of folkloristics and ethnomusicology across Eurasia.


Research Interests: 
Central Eurasian Languages and Literatures
Cultural History
Literary Theory
Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures
Russian and Slavic Studies
Working Languages: