This essay aims at a methodological interpretation of Sheldon Pollock's oeuvre from the perspective of comparative literary history. Part 1 focuses on his recent magnum opus, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men. Part 2 compares the Sanskrit cosmopolis in Pollock's elaboration with cosmopolises of the 'ajam world. I argue that Pollock's analysis of culture and power in premodernity lays the groundwork for a philosophical critique of modern forms of government, the outlines of which are traced in part 3. Premodernity is conceptually necessary to critical and postcolonial theory, in spite of its seeming empirical absence from contemporary thought.

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