On One Rhetorical Figure in M. V. Lomonosov’s Solemn Odes

2019. № 5, 107-115

Evgeniy M. Matveev, Institute for Linguistic Studies (Russian Academy of Sciences),
Saint-Petersburg State University (Russia, Saint-Petersburg), ematveev@list.ru


The article focuses on functioning of the polyptoton in the poetry
of Lomonosov — one of the techniques, dating back to the classical rhetorical
tradition. In a narrow sense, a polyptoton is a repetition of a name
in different cases and prepositional case forms. As a recognizable element
of the Lomonosov’s odic style, the polyptoton was parodied by A. P. Sumarokov
in his “Vzdornye ody” [Foolish odes]. This article analyzes examples
of polyptotons in Lomonosov’s odes — from the ode “First Trophies of John
III” (1741) to the “Ode for Elizabeth Petrovna on her Name Day” (1759).
The fi gure of polyptoton (“naklonenie”) was described by Lomonosov in his
main rhetorical treatise — “Quick Guide to Eloquence” (1748). The analysis
of his solemn odes demonstrates the inconsistency of the formulated
and implemented principles of his poetics: polyptotons are used primarily
not for contrast (as stated in the “Quick Guide”), but to create a hyperbolic
context — when depicting war, natural disasters (fl oods, storms), enthusiastic
state of the odic poet, people’s glee. This article traces the features of
the polyptotons in the post-Lomonosov odic poetry (using the examples of
V. P. Petrov’s odes). Petrov mainly uses this rhetorical fi gure in the “heroic”
battle scenes after Lomonosov.