Purpose. The purpose of the article is to analyze the research history of central themes and motives of Mikhail Lermontov’s works through critics’ articles published during his lifetime in the period from 1840-1841. Methodology and Approach. The main themes and motives of Lermontov’s poetry, which seemed important for his generation, were analyzed through critics’ articles on his works. Theoretic, critical and biographical methods were applied. Results. Our study revealed the main themes and motives of Mikhail Lermontov’s works mentioned in critics’ articles published during his lifetime, thus reflecting the integrity of the motive-thematic structure of Lermontov’s work as a whole. Theoretical and / or Practical Implications. The article provides a comprehensive overview of Mikhail Lermontov’s lifetime publications and their criticism. The article has historical and literary significance and may be of interest not only to philologists but also to readers interested in Lermontov’s works.