Aarhus University Seal

Mads Rosendahl Thomsen


Mads Rosendahl Thomsen




World literature, digital humanities, and posthumanism

I'm director of the Center for Language Generation and AI (CLAI), which was launched in June 2023.

Since March 2023, I've been chair of the Book Panel of the Ministry of Culture Denmark.

2021-25, I'm the co-PI of the research project Fabula-NET with Kristoffer Laigaard Nielbo, financed by the VELUX Foundation.

In September 2019, I published a book with Routledge on world literature, Literature and the Worldco-authored with Stefan Helgesson (Stockholm) and now in Open Access. I have edited The Bloomsbury Handbook of Posthumanism with Jacob Wamberg (Aarhus), now in paperback.

I'm an editor of Orbis Litterarum, and I welcome suggestions for publications in literary studies for review.


Recent and forthcoming

Jacob Wamberg and I have contributed a chapter on posthumanism to The Springer Handbook of the Anthropocene

Articles on world literature's relation to respectively migration and memory are forthcoming on Routledge and Palgrave.

I wrote on Covid-19 and literature for a special issue of Journal of World Literature. The issue opens with an interview with Orhan Pamuk, whose new novel is about a pandemic. In my essay ”Opposite Directions: How the Pandemic Fuels Nationalism and Universalism,” I consider how literature may react to the recent pandemic in the light of how literature has reacted to other traumatic events. The essays from Journal of World Literature will appear soon in a book at Brill.

For the Cambridge History of World Literature – in two volumes edited by Debjany Ganguly – I have written the penultimate article of the volumes on posthumanism and world literature: how the non-human works as a trope in literature and how the transhuman presents a universal challenge that numerous authors have responded to.

”The Values of Imperfection” is based on a talk given to the British Comparative Literature Association at a conference on randomness. I use the work of Georges Perec as my main example to show how Perec embraces randomness and develops a poetics and a view of life that values the imperfect. The article is published in Comparative Critical Studies.

“Serious experiments” or “Esperimenti Seri” was published in Italian in a volume on Franco Moretti’s work. I take my starting point in a little noticed statement from his article “Conjectures on World Literature” that he dreams of that all literary history could become a ”long chain of related experiments” and examines how this relates to his later work and to the works of literature that are at the center of his writing. The article will appear in English at Verso soon.

“The Ethics of Aesthetics” is a very short text written for Network of European Humanities.21 - https://neh21.net/experts-report/mads-rosendahl-thomsen/ - where I make the case for the importance of aesthetics, not just in art, but across a culture that otherwise sees itself driven by technology.

litdh.au.dk is a resource site for computational approaches to literary studies. From reflections to suggestions for sites and codes to use, it can be used in multiple ways. It has recently been updated with advice on using AI in literary research.


Short CV

M.A. 1998, Ph.D. 2002 in Comparative Literature, Aarhus University

Thesis awarded with The University of Aarhus Research Foundation's Ph.D. Prize in 2003

Visiting Scholar, Stanford University, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2015, and 2022 (combined 9 months)

2003-06: Post.doc. financed by the Carlsberg Foundation

2007-09: Assistant Professor

2009-15: Associate Professor

2015-19: Professor with Special Responsibilities

2019-: Professor

Elected member of Academia Europaea (2010)


Selected publications

Authored books

Literature and the World, co-authored with Stefan Helgesson (London: Routledge, 2019).

The New Human in Literature: Posthuman Visions of Changes in Body, Mind, and Society after 1900 (London: Bloomsbury, 2013 (pb. 2015)). Reviews in Orbis Litterarum and Comparative Literature.

Mapping World Literature: International Canonization and Transnational Literatures (London & New York: Continuum, 2008 (pb. 2010)). Reviews in Choice ("Highly recommended"), Modern Languages Review, English Studies, Journal of European Studies, The Comparatist, Comparative Literature Studies, Paragraph, Orbis Litterarum, Symploke, Transcostpost, Forum for Modern Language Studies

Kanoniske konstellationer. Om litteraturhistorie, kanonstudier og 1920'ernes litteratur (Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 2003) (revised dissertation)

Edited books

The Bloomsbury Handbook of Posthumanism with Jacob Wamberg (London: Bloomsbury, 2020)

Literature: An Introduction to Theory and Analysis (London: Bloomsbury, 2017)

Danish Literature as World Literature with Dan Ringgaard (London: Bloomsbury, 2017)

World Literature: A Reader with Theo D'haen and César Dominguez (London: Routledge, 2012)

The Posthuman Condition: Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics of Biotechnological Challenges with Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen and Jacob Wamberg (Aarhus: Aarhus University Press, 2012)

Reinventions of the Novel: Histories and Aesthetics of a Protean Genre with Karen-Margrethe Simonsen and Marianne Ping Huang (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004)  

View all (182) »

View all (127) »

Latest activities and conferences

ID: 13066