Poetics before Modernity is a collaborative project aimed at rethinking the history of early literary theory and literary criticism in the West, broadly understood, from its ancient beginnings to the eighteenth century CE.

The project was founded by Vladimir Brljak and Micha Lazarus in 2016, originating with an eponymous seminar series which met at Trinity College, Cambridge, over the academic year 2016–17. The series was followed by other events, including an international conference at CRASSH,  Cambridge (2017). The first publication arising from the project appeared in 2021: Artes poeticae: Formations and Transformations, 1500–1700a special issue of Classical Receptions Journal co-edited by Brljak and Lazarus. Other events and publications are in various stages of preparation, including Poetics before Modernity: Literary Theory in the West from Antiquity to 1700, a collection of essays under contract with Oxford University Press.

As of November 2020, Poetics before Modernity is convened by a six-member Editorial Board consisting of Vladimir Brljak (Durham), Micha Lazarus (Warburg), Baukje van den Berg (CEU, Vienna), Elsa Bouchard (Montreal), Bryan Brazeau (Warwick), and Andrew Kraebel (Trinity). As of January 2021, the project is further supported by an extensive Advisory Board, currently comprising twenty-seven leading scholars in the field. Between the two Boards, the project is now truly international in scope, extending over Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For more information on Editorial and Advisory Board members, see People.

The project continues to evolve—to be in touch or stay informed about activities, please see Contact.

updated 24 Jul 2021