Skip to main content

Dr Vladimir Brljak

Assistant Professor

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Assistant Professor in the Department of English StudiesRoom A62b, Elvet Riverside+44 (0) 191 33 43370
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies  


I joined the Department in 2018, having previously studied at the Universities of Zagreb (BA) and Warwick (PhD), and held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge (Thole Research Fellow, Trinity Hall).


I work mainly on English literary and intellectual history, 1500-1700, with wider interests in the history of poetics and hermeneutics.


My doctoral dissertation examined the place of the allegorical tradition in 1500-1700 English literature and poetics, and I am now completing a monograph consolidating my research in this field. I also continue to be involved in projects exploring wider perspectives on allegory, most recently in editing Allegory Studies: Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge, 2021), a volume collecting new work on the subject across a range of disciplines and specializations in the humanities and cognitive sciences.


A new long-term project deals with developments in English poetics and literary criticism c.1600-60. This period remains a neglected and misunderstood episode in the history of English poetic thought, typically presented as a fallow interlude between the waning age of Sidney and the dawning age of Dryden.The project seeks to reverse this long-standing trend and recover what is in fact a moment of exceptional interest in the history of the subject.

Relating to this interest is Poetics before Modernity: a project aimed at rethinking the history of literary theory in the West from Greco-Roman antiquity to the Enlightenment, which I convene with Dr Micha Lazarus and an international team of researchers from across the premodern period. The project has organized a number of events, and the first publication to emerge from it is 'Artes poeticae: Formations and Transformations, 1500-1650', a special issue of Classical Receptions Journal (2021; co-edited with Dr Lazarus).


Another long-term interest is the work of John Milton. Most of my current Miltonist research is based around the idea of Paradise Lost as a work of seventeenth-century 'science fiction': science fiction in the narrow sense, of a poem which include many elements we later come to associate with this genre - other worlds, space travel, encounters with extraterrestrial beings - but also in the broader sense of being an imaginative expression of a number of heterodox theological and philosophical views which Milton came to embrace by the 1650s, and which, among other sources, informed what he would have seen as his 'scientific' understanding of the world. In addition to a number of publications currently in preparation, these interests also inform the special topic module 'Paradise Lost' as Science Fiction (ENGL3731). My article 'The Satanic "or": Milton and Protestant Anti-Allegorism' was awarded the Review of English Studies Essay Prize for 2014 and was included in the journal's virtual issue celebrating the 350th anniversary of the first publication of Paradise Lost (1667).

PhD Supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in the following aspects of English literary and intellectual history, c.1500-1700: allegory and related topics; history of poetics and literary criticism; the work of John Milton; topical and satirical elements in the popular drama (esp. relating to religion and religious controversy).

Esteem Indicators


Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Brljak, Vladimir (2022). Allegory Studies: Contemporary Perspectives. Routledge.
  • Brljak, Vladimir & Lazarus, Micha (Accepted). Poetics before Modernity: Literary Theory in the West from Antiquity to 1700. Oxford University Press.

Edited Journal

  • Brljak, Vladimir & Lazarus, Micha (2021). Artes poeticae: Formations and Transformations, 1500-1650. Classical Receptions Journal, 13 (1).

Journal Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Brljak, Vladimir (2018). Personification and Allegory: Selves and Signs.


  • Brljak, Vladimir (2021), When Did Space Turn Dark?, NYU Space Talks. New York University.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2020), From Everyman to Hamlet: A Distant Reading, Centre for Reformation and Early Modern Studies Seminar. University of Birmingham.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2020), Milton and the Space Age: Premodern Universes and Modern Readers, British Milton Seminar. University of Birmingham.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2019), Milton and the Space Age: Premodern Universes and Modern Readers, 12th International Milton Symposium. Strasbourg.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2018), Roundtable participant, 'What Now for Allegory Studies?', 64th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. New Orleans.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2018), Dead Water in English Criticism: Tradition and Innovation from Bacon to Dryden, STVDIO. Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2018), Classical Myth in English Poetics after 1600, 8th Biennial Conference of the Society for Renaissance Studies. University of Sheffield.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2018), Inventing Renaissance Poetics: Modernity, Allegory, and the History of Literary Theory, Workshop in Poetics. Stanford University.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2017), The Critical Fantasies of Philip Kinder, 63rd Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. Chicago.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2016), (Neo)allegory and (Anti)modernity, Redefining Allegory. Queen Mary University of London.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2016), Allegorical Poetics in England after 1600: Fishing in the Dead Water, Renaissance Graduate Seminar. Faculty of English, University of Cambridge.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2016), Hamlet in 1603 (series of three public lectures: 'Hamlet in Heaven', 'Hamlet in Purgatory', 'Hamlet in Hell'), Shakespeare Lives. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2015), '[S]ome shadowe of satisfaction': Bacon's Poetics Revisited, 61st Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. Humboldt University, Berlin.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2014), '[T]he causes and obiects of delectation': An Unpublished Essay on Poetic Theory by Kenelm Digby, 6th Biennial Conference of the Society for Renaissance Studies. University of Southampton.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2014), Satan's Allegories and Milton's Epics, 60th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America. New York.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2013), The Age of Allegory: A Medievalist Myth and Its Legacy, The Middle Ages in the Modern World. University of St Andrews.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2013), Allegory and Modernity in English Poetics, c.1570-1630: Locations and Dislocations, Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association. University of Toronto.
  • Brljak, Vladimir (2012), The Mouth of Hell: Hamlet, 1.5.2-91, Arts Faculty Seminar. University of Warwick.

Supervision students