Title of the article:



Irina S. Yukhnova

Sergey N. Pyatkin

Information about the author/authors

Irina S. Yukhnova — DSc in Philology, Professor, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Gagarin Ave., 23, 603950 Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2835-3070
E-mail: yuhnova@yandex.ru

Sergey N. Pyatkin — DSc in Philology, Professor, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod (Arzamas Branch), Karl Marx St., 36, 607220 Arzamas, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8659-7543
E-mail: nikolas_pyat@mail.ru


Philological sciences




Vol. 65


pp. 158–168


April 07, 2020

Approved after reviewing

June 10, 2020

Date of publication

September 28, 2022



Index UDK


Index BBK



Lermontov’s poem “The sail” refers to the emblematic texts of Russian culture and is highly recognizable. The image created by Lermontov was always perceived as a capacious symbol, and his interpretations were determined by the “spirit” of the historical era. This characteristic of Lermontov's “The sail” determine the relevance of the proposed research. The scientific novelty of the work pertains to systematization, analysis and conceptualization of the social and cultural receptions of the poet's poem in the national tradition. The paper presents the history of creation of the poem, draws attention to its biographical context and suggests versions of the poet’s refusal to include “The sail” in the only lifetime collection of his works. The study also considers the first critical receptions of the “The sail”, especially the position of V. G. Belinsky, who perceived Lermontov’s poem as a typical youthful, student composition of the poet. Despite the fact “The sail” entered the curriculum of high schools, chrestomathies and got the status of a lyrical masterpiece in Lermontov’s poetry and the canonical text of Russian culture. The authors believe that the consolidation of such status of “The sail” in a national cultural consciousness is due to the complex internal structure of the central image-symbol, in which the image plan and the meditative plan reveal the antinomy of the spiritual world of the personality. As the study shows while in the research practice “The sail” is most often interpreted as an expression of revolutionary, including Decembrist moods, in the scientific works of recent years, the poet’s poem is included in the context of the Christian tradition. The paper summarizes and analyzes creative experience of the artistic representation of the Lermontov image-symbol in national poetry drawing on the works of K. Fofanov, S. Yesenin and V. Vysotsky. The authors argue that, with all the differences in readings and interpretations, Lermontov’s “The sail” in the Russian cultural consciousness has become a symbol of impetuous and unstoppable movement, the desire of a self-worthy person for great changes in his own fate and the world around him. This semantic plan, which confirms the statement of the Chairman of the People's Republic of China, XI Jinping, characterizes the perception of Lermontov’s poem by foreign readers, and the sail, as a symbolic image of Russian culture, is also relevant for another national tradition.


Lermontov, “The sail”, “Lonely white The sail”, Russian Culture, Canonical Text, Tradition, Reception.


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