6. The Early Modern Period

  1. M. A. R. Habib

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444328004.ch6

Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction

Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction

How to Cite

Habib, M. A. R. (2010) The Early Modern Period, in Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444328004.ch6

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 JAN 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160346

Online ISBN: 9781444328004



  • early modern period - to the Enlightenment;
  • Renaissance, overturning medieval theological world view - replacing it with secular and humanist vision;
  • Renaissance, “rebirth” or rediscovery of values, ethics and styles - of classical Greece and Rome;
  • early modern period, distinctive traits - as era of profound transformation;
  • “humanism,” a world view and a set of values - around the human rather than the divine;
  • Renaissance humanism itself - manifestation of a profound shift in sensibility;
  • early modern period - growth of a new secular class of educated people and secular employment of classics rhetoric and law;
  • humanism, flourishing - in other parts of Europe;
  • momentous religious transformations - vast schism in the Christian world;
  • Castelvetro, best known for his stringent reformulation - Aristotle's unities of time and place in drama


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Historical Background

  • Intellectual Background

  • Confronting the Classical Heritage

  • Defending the Vernacular

  • Poetics and the Defense of Poetry

  • Poetic Form and Rhetoric