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a 14-line stanza rhymed AbAbCC-ddEffEgg, the capital letters indicating feminine rhymes, and the small letters masculine rhymes.
In rhythm and intonation the Onegin stanza can be divided into three quatrains, with alternate, paired, and enclosing rhymes, and a concluding couplet. Most of the stanzas have a definite structure: the first quatrain introduces the stanza’s theme, the second develops it, the third is the culmination, and the couplet presents an aphoristic conclusion. This complex structure makes the Onegin stanza a kind of poem within a poem, and consequently it is used almost exclusively in long poetical works containing many lyrical digressions.
The Onegin stanza was created by A. S. Pushkin for his verse novel Eugene Onegin. It was later used in many Russian poetical works, as in M. Iu. Lermontov’s “The Treasurer’s Wife.” However, it is usually associated with Pushkin.
REFERENCESGrossman, L. “Oneginskaia strofa.” In Sobr. soch., vol. 1. Moscow, 1928.
Vinokur, G. “Slovo i stikh v ‘Evgenii Onegine.’ ” In Pushkin. Moscow, 1941.
M. L. GASPAROV