Samuel Hodgkin

Samuel Hodgkin's picture
Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature
+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, forthcoming spring 2024), 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.


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

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2018.


Persianate Verse and the Poetics of Eastern Internationalism (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming spring 2024).

“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

Forthcoming articles deal with the modern transregional crisis of ghazal poetics, and with the institution of the national poet after the age of Romantic nationalism. I am the guest editor of a forthcoming special issue of Comparative Literature Studies, entitled “Communist World Poetics.” 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 “Steppe Atlantis: Transnational Philology and the Khazar Hypothesis.” Shorter projects at the research stage deal with the question of Rudaki’s blindness; the training manuals written for Soviet proletarian writers; and the late critical works of Viktor Zhirmunsky on Turkic and other Eastern literatures.


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