The syntax of 18-century Russian poetry in connection with metrics, strophic organization, and genre.

2017. №6, 20-41

Natalia V. Patroeva
Petrozavodsk State University, Petrozavodsk, 185910, Russian Federation;


The article concerns the attraction of various types of metric or strophic organization and genre to a particular structural type of sentence. I understand poetic syntax as the syntactic organization of poetic text, the main unit whereof is a sentence. Drawing on the data from “The syntactic dictionary of Russian poetry of the 18th century”, I conclude that the syntax of the Russian Baroque, Classicist, and Sentimentalist poetry tends to have complex sentences (on average, 62 % of the total number of structures), more than a half of them having multiple units with one or different types of connection. Complex sentences, on average, are only 6 % of the polypredicative structures, while compound sentences occur more than two times more frequently (14 %); asyndeton is 18 % of the complex structures; complex sentences with different types of connection are more than 20 % of the contexts. There is a consistent tendency to syntactically simplify short (mono meter and dimeter) dissyllabic feet as well as experiments with the anapest, dactyl, accentual verse; complex structures are usually present in poems written in syllabic, long, and medium iamb, trochee, amphibrach, feet of free meter and different-feet meter, logaoedic verse, hexameter, and pentameter. The most important feature of the compositional and syntactic organization of poetic texts is complex construction of the majority of strophic poems, decimes, and octaves odd by the number of rows. The complexity of the syntactic organization of ode, hymn, madrigal, epistle, cantata, and sonnet is revealed. During the 18th century the structure of fables, epigrams, epitaphs, elegiac stanzas, poems without genre is simplified; ballad turns out to be syntactically the simplest.