Russian Lyric Poetry (MLR2016)

StaffProfessor Katharine Hodgson - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Pre-requisitesNormally MLR1001/MLR1030 (or equivalent, or native-speaker competence)
Co-requisitesNormally MLR2001
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module aims to provide you with the skills needed to analyse Russian poetry, including a familiarity with key elements of Russian versification (meter, rhythm, rhyme). You will gain confidence in exploring the ways in which poetic form and meaning are interrelated. The close reading done in class will help you develop greater critical and analytical awareness, and will also offer opportunities for the group to share interpretations, learning from one another’s insights. Reading poetry gives you a chance to encounter the Russian language when it is working at its hardest: all aspects of a word, not just its meaning, can play a part in communication.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. in the texts set for study in this module, to identify correctly features of Russian versification such as different types, meter. rhyme, and stanza.
  • 2. to apply this knowledge of versification in commentary on a specific text or in a comparison of texts, explaining how the formal aspects identified enhance the effect of a poem

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. to develop, present, and defend a detailed and analytical argument, in both written and oral forms, with the guidance of the course lecturer
  • 4. to examine and utilise in an analytical commentary evidence from close reading of Russian texts

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. to undertake independent learning activities with a measure of autonomy, asking for guidance from the course lecturer where necessary
  • 6. to make productive contributions to group work

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction Russian versification: basic information on meter, rhythm, and rhyme; how poetry differs from prose.
  • Analysis of a single poem class reading of Pushkin - ‘Zimnii vecher'.
  • Pushkin on poets group reading of ‘Prorok', ‘Arion', ‘Poet';
  • Lermontov’s heaven and earth  group reading of ‘Angel', ‘Tuchi'
  • Lermontov: two approaches to the human condition‘ ‘I skuchno i grustno', ‘Vykhozhu odin ia na dorogu' .
  • Poets and their demons Pushkin ‘Demon’ and Lermontov ‘Moi demon’
  • Freedom and captivity Pushkin - ‘Uznik', Lermontov - ‘Zhelanie' ;
  • Tiutchev’s mysterious universes - ‘Silentium!', ‘Den' i noch''
  • The supernatural  Pushkin - ‘Besy'; Tiutchev - ‘O chem ty voesh', vetr nochnoi?'
  • Nature poetry Pushkin - ‘Zimnee utro'; Lermontov - ‘Kogda volnuetsia zhelteiushchaia niva'; Tiutchev - ‘Est' v oseni pervonachal'noi...'
  • Requited and unrequited love Pushkin - ‘Ia vas liubil...'; Lermontov - ‘Net, ne tebia tak pylko ia liubliu...'; Tiutchev ‘ ‘ Ia ochi znal, - o eti ochi!;
  • Russia and patriotism Pushkin - ‘ K Chaadaevu'; Lermontov - ‘Rodina'; Tiutchev - ‘Eti bednye selen'ia'

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Seminars14group discussion of texts that have been read in advance of the seminar
Lectures1introductory lecture on Russian versification
Tutorials1feedback on formative assessment; preparation for & feedback on assessment task 1
Guided independent study94reading and preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided independent study40completion of formative and summative assessment tasks

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practice Commentary750 Words1-5written and oral feedback from course lecturer

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay501,500 words1-5written and oral feedback from course lecturer
Essay501,500 words1-5written and oral feedback from course lecturer

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
2 pieces of coursework @ 1,500 words2 Hour Exam1-5August ref/def Period

Re-assessment notes

100% Exam

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The Penguin Book of Russian Verse, edited by Dmitrii Obolenskii (Penguin: Harmondsworth, 1962)

Boris Unbegaun, Russian Versification (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956)

ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Web based and electronic resources:

Russian poetry from the Ends to the Beginning: a Bilingual Anthology of Russian Verse (includes recordings of poems being read, as well as texts, plus information on poets)

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Russian lyric poetry 19th Century