The Derzhavin-L'vov circle was the most productive literary society in eighteenth-century Russia. It consisted primarily of four members, four poets who were drawn together by friendship, family ties and shared interests: Derzhavin, Khemnitser, L'vov and Kapnist. They addressed each other in verse, refined and revised each other's compositions, and were inspired by the same themes and models. The interests of the circle and their associates extended beyond the discipline of literature, into the fields of art, architecture, theatre and music, so that their activity is representative of the cultural life of St Petersburg during the reign of Catherine II. This is a descriptive account of the origin, the functioning and the influence of the Derzhavin-L'vov circle. It chronicles the interwoven lives of the circle's protagonists; investigates the backgrounds to their major artistic accomplishments; measures their involvement in one another's work; and finds similarities in style, attitude and idea. The approach is that of the literary historian concerned not solely with literature, but with the people behind it and the circumstances which produced it.