Compared to What?

You can now download  in MP3 and MP4 formats the fourth and final talk delivered by the incomparable Haun Saussy as the as 2014 University of Otago De Carle Distinguished Lecturer. In “Compared to What?” Saussy argues that “comparative literature grew from interdisciplinarity in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth centuries, struggled to become an autonomous field and in the process lost its interdisciplinary dimensions, then has been recovering them on new bases, but in an academic environment that is slow to reward risk-taking, unlike the moment immediately after the French Revolution when the gesture of sweeping the slate clean and inventing new sciences came naturally to so many of our predecessors.” In the process, we learn what eighteenth-century comparative astronomy has to do with late-1960s popular music, and why Saussy is not a fan of world literature as a discipline.


About Jacob Edmond

Jacob Edmond is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is author of A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Fordham UP, 2012). His articles have appeared in journals such as Comparative Literature, Contemporary Literature, Poetics Today, The China Quarterly, the Slavic and East European Journal, and Russian Literature. He is editor (with Henry Johnson and Jacqueline Leckie) of Recentring Asia: Histories, Encounters, Identities (Brill / Global Oriental, 2011), and editor and translator (with Hilary Chung) of Yang Lian’s Unreal City: A Chinese Poet in Auckland (Auckland University Press, 2006). For more, see:
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