Full text:


Author: Andrey M. Ranchin
Information about the author:

Andrey M. Ranchin, DSc in Philology, Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Philological Faculty, 1st housing, Leninskie gory, GSP-1. 119991 Moscow, Russia.

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0414-5106

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



For citation:

Ranchin, A.M. “On the Problems of Studying Verse of ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’.” Germenevtika drevnerusskoi literatury [Hermeneutics of Old Russian Literature]. Issue 21. Ed.-in-chief O.A. Tufanova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 461–492. (In Russian) https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2022-21-461-492 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2022-21-461-492
UDC: 821.161.1.0
Keywords: The Tale of Igor’s Campaign, A.Yu. Chernov, S.L. Nikolaev, metrics, tonic verse, alliterations, syllabo-tonic verse, rhythmic prose.
Date of publication: 16.12.2022


The article deals with the problems of determining the metric of The Tale of Igor’s Campaign. The objects of the research are works by A.Yu. Chernov, who believes that this work was written by the author’s tonic verse, unlike the tonic verse of folk poetry, and by S.L. Nikolaev, who proves that it uses a syllabo-tonic verse of different meters and claims that this verse is characteristic of folklore. The article demonstrates that those described by A.Yu. Chernov rhymes and other consonances-alliterations do not divide the text of The Tale of Igor’s Campaign into verses and that there are no signs of the metric organization of the text in the monument. It is shown that S.L. Nikolaev arbitrarily ascribes to the text of The Tale of Igor’s Campaign the syllabo-tonic principle, which is also generally alien to folk poetry. The very reconstruction of the stress system in the work, carried out by the researcher, raises a number of questions. The considered experiments in describing the metric The Tale of Igor’s Campaign sin by breaking away from the real literary context, violating the principles of historicism. This work does not belong to poetry, but to rhythmic prose. As we know it, The Tale of Igor’s Campaign is an example of literary, not oral, text.


1 Averintsev, S.S. Poetika rannevizantiiskoi literatury [Poetics of Early Byzantine Literature]. St. Petersburg, Azbuka-klassika Publ., 2004. 480 p. (In Russian)

2 Azbelev, S.N. “Drevnerusskie geroicheskie skazaniia v mezhdunarodnom kontekste” [“Old Russian Heroic Legends in an International Context”]. Drevniaia Rus’: Voprosy medievistiki, no. 3, 2007, pp. 115–122. (In Russian)

3 Azbelev, S.N. “Redkaia raznovidnost’ russkikh istochnikov” [“A Rare Variety of Russian Sources”]. Rossica Antiqua, no. 1, 2013, pp. 133–173. (In Russian)

4 Beili, Dzh. Izbrannye stat’i po russkomu narodnomu stikhu [Selected Articles on Russian Folk Poetry], trans. from English under total ed. by M.L. Gasparov. Moscow, Iazyki russkoi kul’tury Publ.; CEU Publ., 2001. 416 p. (In Russian)

5 Gasparov, B.M. Poetika “Slova o polku Igoreve” [Poetics of ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’]. 2nd ed. Moscow, Agraf Publ., 2000. 605 p. (In Russian)

6 Gasparov, M.L. “Oppozitsiia ‘stikh — proza’ i stanovlenie russkogo literaturnogo stikha” [“Opposition ‘Verse — Prose’ and the Formation of Russian Literary Verse”]. Timofeev, L.I., editor. Russkoe stikhoslozhenie: traditsii i problemy razvitiia [Russian Versification: Traditions and Problems of Development]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1985, pp. 264–276. (In Russian)

7 Gasparov, M.L. “Russkii narodnyi stikh i ego literaturnye imitatsii” [“Russian Folk Verse and Its Literary Imitations”]. Gasparov, M.L. Izbrannye trudy [Selected Works], vol. III: On verse. Moscow, Iazyki russkoi kul’tury Publ., 1997, pp. 54–131. (In Russian)

8 Gasparov, M.L. Ocherk istorii evropeiskogo stikha [Essay on the History of European Verse]. 2nd ed., suppl. Moscow, Fortuna Limited Publ., 2003. 272 p. (In Russian)

9 Gasparov, M.L. Ocherk istorii russkogo stikha: Metrika. Ritmika. Strofika [Essay on the History of European Verse: Metrics. Rhythmics. Stanzaics]. 2nd ed., suppl. Moscow, Fortuna Limited Publ., 2000. 352 p. (In Russian)

10 Gudzii, N.K. “Literatura Slova o polku Igoreve za poslednee dvadtsatiletie (1894–1914 g.)” [“Literature about ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’ for the Last Twenty Years (1894–1914)”]. Zhurnal ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniia. Novaia seriia, vol. XLIX, February, 1914, pp. 353–386. (In Russian)

11 Zhivov, V.M. Istoriia iazyka russkoi pis’mennosti [History of the Language of Russian Writing], vol. 1. Moscow, Universitet Dmitriia Pozharskogo Publ., 2017. 816 p. (In Russian)

12 Zhovtis, A. “Granitsy svobodnogo stikha” [“Boundaries of Free Verse”]. Voprosy literatury, no. 5, 1966, pp. 105–123. (In Russian)

13 Zalizniak, A.A. Drevnenovgorodskii dialect [Old Novgorod dialect]. 2nd ed., revised. Moscow, Iazyki russkoi kul’tury Publ., 2004. 872 p. (In Russian)

14 Zalizniak, A.A. ‘Slovo o polku Igoreve’: Vzgliad lingvista [‘The Tale of Word about Igor’s Campaign:’ The View of a Linguist]. 3rd ed., suppl. Moscow, Rukopisnye pamiatniki Drevnei Rusi Publ., 2008. 481 p. (In Russian)

15 Zalizniak, A.A. Drevnerusskoe udarenie: Obshchie svedeniia i slovar’ [Old Russian Stress: General Information and Dictionary]. Moscow, Iazyki russkoi kul’tury Publ., 2014. 728 p. (In Russian)

16 Kazartsev, E.V. Sravnitel’noe stikhovedenie: Metrika i ritmika [Comparative Study of Versification: Metrics and Rhythmics]. St. Petersburg, Russian State Pedagogical Institute named after A.I. Herzen Publ., 2017. 160 р. (In Russian)

17 Kviatkovskii, A. “Russkii svobodnyi stikh” [“Russian Free Verse”]. Voprosy literatury, no. 12, 1963, pp. 60–77. (In Russian)

18 Сurtius, E.R. Evropeiskaia literatura i latinskoe Srednevekov’e [European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages], vol. 1, trans. and comm. D.S. Kolchigin, ed. F.B. Uspenskii. 2nd ed. Moscow, Izdatel’skii dom IaSK Publ., 2021, 560 p. (In Russian)

19 Likhachev, D.S. ‘Slovo o polku Igoreve’ i kul’tura ego vremeni [‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’ and the Culture of His Time]. 2nd ed., suppl. Leningrad, Khudozhestvennaia literatura Publ., 1985. 352 p. (In Russian)

20 Lord, A.B. Skazitel’ [Storyteller], trans. and comm. by Iu.A. Kleiner and G.A. Levinton, afterw. by B.N. Putilov, articles by A.I. Zaitsev, Iu.A. Kleiner. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1994. 368 p. (In Russian)

21 Mann, R. “Svadebnye motivy v ‘Slove o polku Igoreve’” [“Wedding Motives in ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’.”]. Trudy Otdela drevnerusskoi literatury Instituta russkoi literatury (Pushkinskogo Doma) AN SSSR [Proceedings of the Department of Old Russian Literature of the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the USSR Academy of Sciences], vol. XXXVIII: Interaction of Old Russian literature and Fine Arts. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1985, pp. 514–519. (In Russian)

22 Mann, R. “Zametki k tekstu ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’” [“Notes to the Text of ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’.”]. Likhachev, D.S., editor. Issledovaniia ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’ [Researches of the ‘Tale of Igor’s Campaign’]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1986, pp. 129–137. (In Russian)

23 Mann, R. ‘Pesn’ o polku Igoreve.’ Novye otkrytiia [‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign.’ New Discoveries]. Moscow, Iazyki slavianskoi kul’tury Publ., 2009. 98 p. (In Russian)

24 Miuller, L. “Drevnerusskaia legenda o khozhdenii apostola Andreia v Kiev i Novgorod” [“Old Russian Legend about the Walk of the Apostle Andrew to Kiev and Novgorod”]. Miuller, L. Poniat’ Rossiiu: Istoriko-kul’turnye issledovaniia [Understand Russia: Historical and Cultural Studies], trans. from German, comp. by L.I. Sazonova, eds. A.B. Grigor’ev and L.I. Sazonova. Moscow, Progress-Traditsiia Publ., 2000, pp. 183–201. (In Russian)

25 Nazarov, N. “Nezamechennaia epika: metricheskaia (pere)otsenka Povesti vremennykh let i Slova o polku Igoreve” [“Unnoticed Epics: Metric (Re) Assessment of the Primary Chronicle and of ‘The Tale of the Igor’s Campaign’.”]. Slavia Orientalis, t. LXVIII, no. 2, 2019, pp. 241–260. DOI 10.24425/slo2019.128470. (In Russian)

26 Nikiforov, A.I. “Problema ritmiki ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’.” [The Problem of the Rhythmics of ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign.’”]. Uchenye zapiski Leningradskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo instituta im. M.N. Pokrovskogo [Scholary Notes of the Leningrad State Pedagogical Institute named after M.N. Pokrovsky], vol. IV. Faculty for Language and Literature, issue 2, 1940, pp. 214–250. (In Russian)

27 Nikiforov, A.I. “Fol’klor Kievskogo perioda” [“Folklore of the Kievan Period”]. Istoriia russkoi literatury: v 10 t. [History of Russian Literature: in 10 vols.], vol. 10. Moscow, Leningrad, AN SSSR Publ., 1941, pp. 216–256. (In Russian)

28 Nikolaev, S.L. ‘Slovo o polku Igoreve’: rekonstruktsiia stikhotvornogo teksta [‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign:’ Reconstruction of Poetic Text]. Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nestor-Istoriia Publ., 2020. 640 p. (In Russian)

29 Panchenko, A.M. “Perspektivy issledovaniia drevnerusskogo stikhotvorstva” [“Prospects for the Study of Old Russian Poetry”]. Trudy Otdela drevnerusskoi literatury Instituta russkoi literatury (Pushkinskogo Doma) Akademii nauk SSSR [Proceedings of the Department of Old Russian Literature of the Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the USSR Academy of Sciences], vol. XX: Actual Problems of Studying Russian Literature of the 11th–17th Centuries Moscow, Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1964, pp. 256–273. (In Russian)

30 Petrukhin, V.Ia. ‘Rus’ i vsi iazytsy’: Aspekty istoricheskikh vzaimosviazei: Istorikoarkheologicheskie ocherki [‘Rus’ i vsi iazytsy:’ Aspects of Historical Relationships: Historical and Archaeological Essays]. Moscow, Iazyki slavianskikh kul’tur Publ., 2011. 384 p. (In Russian)

31 Pil’shchikov, I.A., Trunin, M.V. “K sporam o ritmicheskoi prirode ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’ (neopublikovannyi otzyv Iu.M. Lotmana na stat’iu L.I. Timofeeva i ego mesto v nauchnom kontekste 1960–1970-kh godov)” [“To the Controversy about the Rhythmic Nature of ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’ (Unpublished Review by Yu.M. Lotman on the Article by L.I. Timofeev and his) Place in the Scientific Context of the 1960–1970s)”]. Russkaia literatura, no. 1, 2015, pp. 30–52. (In Russian)

32 Ranchin, A.M. ‘Slovo o polku Igoreve’: Putevoditel’ [‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign:’ A Guide]. St. Petersburg, Nestor-Istoriia Publ., 2019. 272 р. (In Russian)

33 Sokolova, L. “Fol’klornye traditsii i ikh interpretatsiia v Plache Iaroslavny” [“Folklore Traditions and Their Interpretation in Yaroslavna’s Lament”]. Tekst i traditsiia: al’manakh [Text and Tradition: Almanac], issue 8. St. Petersburg, Rostok Publ., 2020, pp. 7–34. (In Russian)

34 Stelletskii, V. “K voprosu o ritmicheskom stroe ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’.” [On the Question of the Rhythmic Structure of ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’.”]. Russkaia literatura, no. 4, 1964, pp. 27–40. (In Russian)

35 Taranovskii, K. “Formy obshcheslavianskogo i tserkovnoslavianskogo stikha v drevnerusskoi literature XI–XIII vv.” [“Forms of Common Slavic and Church Slavonic Verse in Old Russian Literature of the 11th–13th Centuries”]. Taranovskii, K. O poetakh i poezii [On Poets and Poetry]. Moscow, Iazyki russkoi kul’tury Publ., 2000, pp. 257– 273. (In Russian)

36 Timofeev, L. “Ritmika ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’” [“Rhythm in ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’.”]. Russkaia literatura, no. 1, 1963, pp. 88–104. (In Russian)

37 Uspenskii, B.A. Istoriia russkogo literaturnogo iazyka (XI–XVII vv.) [History of the Russian Literary Language (11th–17th Centuries)]. 2nd ed., rev. and added. Moscow, Aspekt Press Publ., 2002. 558 p. (In Russian)

38 Kholshevnikov, V.E. Osnovy stikhovedeniia: Russkoe stikhoslozhenie. Uchebnoe posobie dlia studentov filologicheskikh fakul’tetov vuzov [Basics of poetry: Russian Versification. Textbook for Students of Philological Faculties of Universities]. 5th ed. St. Petersburg, Filologicheskii fakul’tet SPbGU; Izdatel’skii tsentr “Akademiia” Publ., 2004. 208 p. (In Russian)

39 Chernov, A. “Poeticheskaia polisemiia i sfragida avtora v ‘Slove o polku Igoreve’.” [“Poetic Polysemy and Sphragida of the Author in ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’.”]. Likhachev, D.S., editor. Issledovaniia ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’ [Researches of ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1986, pp. 270–293. (In Russian)

40 Chernov, A. Khroniki iznanochnogo vremeni: ‘Slovo o polku Igoreve’: Tekst i ego okrestnosti [Chronicles of the Purl Time: ‘The Tale about Igor’s Campaign:’ Text and Its Surroundings]. St. Petersburg, Vita Nova Publ., 2006. 480 p. (In Russian)

41 Shtokmar, M.P. “Ritmika ‘Slova o polku Igoreve’ v svete issledovanii XIX–XX vv.” [“Rhythm in ‘The Tale of Igor’s Campaign’ in the Light of the Studies of the 19th–20th Centuries”]. Gudzii, N.K., editor. Starinnaia russkaia povest’: Stat’i i issledovaniia [An Old Russian Story: Articles and Researches]. Moscow, Leningrad, AN SSSR Publ., 1941, pp. 66–82. (In Russian)

42 Mann, Robert. Lances Sing. A Study of the Igor Tale. Columbus, Ohio, Slavica Publishers, 1990. 231 p. (In English)

43 Mann, Robert. “The Silent Debate Over the Igor Tale.” Oral Tradition, vol. 30/1, 2016, pp. 53–94. (In English)

44 Parry, Milman. “Studies in the Epic Technique of Oral Verse-Making, I: Homer and the Homeric Style.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. 41, 1930, pp. 73–148. (In English)

45 Parry, Milman. “Studies in the Epic Technique of Oral Verse-Making, II: the Homeric Language as Language of Oral Poetry.” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. 43, 1932, pp. 1–50. (In English)