The goal of this research is the comparative analysis of the usage of the lexeme “love”, its evolution in time and its semantic connection to substantives other parts of speech in the poetic texts of the most distinguished and productive Russian poets of the 18th – 20th centuries: G. Derzhavin, A. Pushkin, M. Tsvetaeva, J. Brodsky, as well as contemporary Russian poets of the 21st century. It is not by chance that the lexeme “love” is chosen: it is part of the six substantives (love, soul, sky, day, hand, life) which have been forming the unchanged core of the most used substantives in the poems of the prominent poets for the last three centuries of the Russian poetry.
Based on a new version of the corpus of the Russian poetic language the frequency of use of the lexeme “love” in the language of different poets is investigated. The change of the rank of “love” among the most used lexemes is shown, as well as the evolution of its semantic meaning for the last three centuries of the Russian poetry. Moreover, the substantives which occur most often in its “surrounding” are inspected and the differences of the use of “love” by different poets is studied along with the elements common for several poets. The shifting of the usage of “love” through the years of life of the poets is analyzed and the first and last occurrence of the lexeme in the poetic language of the different poets is given.
Lexeme “love”, surroundings of the lexeme, core of the Russian poetic language, semantic meanings and connections, evolution of the lexeme, comparative analysis, frequency and rank of lexemes, poetic corpus of the Russian language, Derzhavin, Pushkin, Tsvetaeva, Brodsky.