UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SERS4026 Russian Poetry in the Silver Age (not running 2017 or 2018)

UCL Credits: 15

Total Learning Hours: 150

ECTS: 7.5

Level: Advanced

Course Unit: 0.5

Full Year

Module Coordinator: Professor Pamela Davidson

Taught By: Professor Pamela Davidson

To find out more about this module, please contact the Module Coordinator.

Weekly Contact Hours: 1 hour tutorial per week
Prerequisites: Russian language at advanced level
Compulsory Module for:

Summative Assessment

2 Hour Examination (100%)

Formative Assessment

Two pieces of written coursework: one commentary and one essay

Regular class presentations

Module Outline

One of the highlights of Russian literature is its poetry, which reached an outstanding peak of achievement in the early part of the twentieth century, known as the Silver Age. This course builds upon the second-year course “Russian Poetry from Pushkin to Brodsky” and studies the work of eight major poets: Blok, Ivanov, Mandel’shtam, Akhmatova, Maiakovskii, Khlebnikov, Pasternak, Tsvetaeva. It centres on the close reading of poems, including some longer works, and also includes discussion of key poetic manifestos and critical essays by the poets studied. Students will become acquainted with the three main modernist movements (symbolism, acmeism and futurism), and will explore central connecting themes such as the role of tradition and innovation, concepts of the symbol, uses of myth, textual allusion and metaphor, linguistic experimentation, the poet and art, the poet and revolution, the poet and the city, and the construction of poetic identity (including the role of gender).

Indicative Texts

Bilingual editions of Russian poetry:
V. Markov and M. Sparks, eds., Modern Russian Poetry: An Anthology with Verse Translations, London, 1966;
D. Rayfield, ed., The Garnett Book of Russian Verse, London, 2000.
On literary movements:
A. Pyman, A History of Russian Symbolism, Cambridge, 1994;
J. Doherty, The Acmeist Movement in Russian Poetry: Culture and the Word, Oxford, 1995;
V. Markov, Russian Futurism: A History, Berkeley, 1968.
On versification and poetic form:
B. Scherr, Russian Poetry: Meter, Rhythm and Rhyme, Berkeley, 1986;
M. Wachtel, The Development of Russian Verse: Meter and its Meanings, Cambridge, 1998;
M. Wachtel, The Cambridge Introduction to Russian Poetry, Cambridge, 2004



Course Code



Full Year AffiliatesRegister for SERS4026As Above 7.5
Affiliates here for Term 1 onlyRegister for SERS4026ATo be confirmed 3.75
Affiliates here for Terms 2 and 3 onlyRegister for SERS4026BTo be confirmed 3.75


Please note: This outline is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.