Māori writer Pei Te Hurinui Jones’s biography of a famous nineteenth-century composer was published serially in the government magazine Te Ao Hou and then in 1961 as Puhiwahine: Māori poetess. The final section of the biography is written in dramatic form: the author is interrupted at his desk by the “ghost of Goethe,” who, it had been rumored, was the father of Puhiwahine’s husband. Following other genealogies—especially those connected to the origins of comparative literature—we might say Goethe’s ghost had already “enter[ed]” this place. In 1886, Irish scholar Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett arrived in Auckland with his freshly printed book Comparative Literature, drawing on work by, among others, Goethe. Responding to Pacific studies scholar Teresia Teaiwa’s argument that “more often than not … the Pacific is not brought to the table as an equal partner in any conversation about the nature of humanity or society,” the article considers how, and on what terms, Te Hurinui’s reckonings with Goethe might be held alongside Posnett’s. Ultimately, drawing attention to these two very different “entries” of Goethe provides an opportunity to reckon with the current and potential relationship between comparative literature, Indigenous literary studies, and the Pacific.

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