To the Metric Repertoire of G. R. Derzhavin in His Lifetime Collected Works (An Essay in Statistical Analysis)

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Lomonosov Moscow State University
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameIzvestiia Rossiiskoi akademii nauk. Seriia literatury i iazyka
EditionVolume 80 Issue 5

The article examines the metric repertoire of poems by G.R. Derzhavin in the collected works prepared by himself (Vol. 1–4. St. Petersburg, 1808; Vol. 5. St. Petersburg, 1816). A statistical analysis of the metrics of poems in the first three volumes and in the 5th volume (Vol. 4, which contains dramatic works, was not considered) shows that two tendencies coexist in Derzhavin's work. On the one hand, a large number of poems are written in the usual meters, such as four-foot iambic or four-foot trochee, while statistically the number of poems written in such “usual” meters does not at all coincide with the general trends of the time. It can be assumed that in terms of the distribution of meters according to the number of verses, Derzhavin is ahead of his time. On the other hand, metric experiments are also not uncommon in the “Works”. The poet uses iambic and trochaic varieties, which are not very common in the late 18th – early 19th centuries, three-syllable meters; each volume contains polymetric compositions. There are also more radical experiments: for example, several logaedos or works in which the ancient metric is imitated, but ineptly, which leads to the emergence of texts such as “Polyhymnii”, whose size eventually coincides with the tactician. In the “Works” not all of Derzhavin’s poems are collected, but only those that he wanted to present to the public, therefore, we can assume that, since this corpus of verses was best known to the poet’s readers, including readers-poets, these verses, including number in terms of the choice of meters and their distribution over the volume of poems, could have the most obvious versification influence on the further development of Russian poetry among all the poet’s verses.

KeywordsG.R. Derzhavin, versification, metric reference book, metrical feet (prosody), experimental texts
AcknowledgmentThis article is based on the research conducted at the Institute for World Culture of Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) and supported by the Russian Scientist Foundation (RSF, project no. 19-78-10132).
Publication date13.12.2021
Number of characters17534
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