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A Living, International, Digital Compendium of the Theory of Lyric Poetry

THE ONLINE CRITICAL COMPENDIUM OF LYRIC POETRY will offer an open access platform for the theory of lyric poetry, created by selected experts. We aim to address the global phenomenon of lyric poetry through cross-cultural and interdisciplinary cooperation. Our objective is to encourage and to facilitate scholarly exchange about lyric poetry among the members of different disciplines.

We are developing an international open-access compendium on the study of lyric poetry that will serve as a platform for recording and assessing similar and divergent approaches to various theoretical challenges in the field. Our project aims to provide a cross-reference platform for key notions of lyric poetry in various languages. We are building the compendium around twenty-four  major concepts pertaining to lyric poetry, rather than technical terms specific to different linguistic and critical traditions.

Despite the fact that lyric poetry is a literary genre often studied at the university level, critical approaches to the lyric tend to limit their object of study to printed texts, in a single language, representing a particular literary culture. However, even such apparently identical words as “lyric” in English, “lírico” in Spanish, “Lyrik” in German or “lyrisme” in French prove to have quite different meanings in practice. In order to understand contemporary lyric poetry and the theory of the lyric on a global scale, we must therefore overcome the current national or linguistic limitations of research in lyric studies while at the same time engaging with diverse critical heritages. It is our belief that any study of the lyric today must acknowledge the influence of digitalization and the new media as well as the different forms poetry may take in the twenty-first century.


The project aims to bridge existing national, linguistic and disciplinary traditions in order to gain a better understanding of contemporary lyric poetry at an international level and to establish the study of the genre as a unified field of research. To achieve this goal, we are creating an international open-access compendium on the study of lyric poetry drawing on the rich diversity of multicultural perspectives. Taking a shared critical vocabulary as a starting point, the project will investigate topics ranging from the poetic practices of classical antiquity to the multimedia corpora of the digital age. We are therefore considering lyric poetry as a fundamentally intermedial genre requiring new interdisciplinary approaches. We approach lyric poetry as an international field of research and establish cross-disciplinary cooperation in order to examine the resulting divergent critical terminologies. Our project places particular emphasis on the analysis of literary texts in different media, but also on the relations between space, language and culture in lyric poetry. THE ONLINE CRITICAL COMPENDIUM OF LYRIC POETRY is an exciting opportunity to unite scholars working in different linguistic and methodological traditions in a common critical endeavour.

This project is funded by the Sinergia programme of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

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