Lithuanian Literature

Lithuanian Literature

Lithuanian literature. The rich folk literature (lyrical songs, Dainos [ Daina ]) was only passed on orally. The first book in Lithuanian, atranslation of Luther’s “Small Catechism”madeby Martynas Mažvydas (c Translation literature (catechisms, gospel pericopes, later hymn books and postils, some with original contributions), which laid the foundations for the later Lithuanian literary language. The first translation of the Bible, 1579–90 by Johannes Bretke (* 1536, † 1602; Lithuanian Jonas Bretkūnas) Made in Labiau near Koenigsberg, remained unprinted. Visit petwithsupplies for Lithuania Nature and Culture.

18th to early 20th century

Since the middle of the 18th century there have been attempts to create a Lithuanian art literature, for example through the verses of K. Donelaitis (»Die Jahreszeiten«, published 1818; German) and A. Baranauskas (»Der Hain von Anykščiai«, 1858– 59; German) as well as poems by A. Strazdas. In the second half of the 19th century, literary development in Greater Lithuania was hampered by the ban imposed by tsarist governors after the uprising in 1863 on printing Lithuanian scripts with Latin letters (1864–1904). Lithuanian fonts were increasingly produced in neighboring Northeast Prussia, especially in Tilsit. They were smuggled across the Prussian-Russian border to Lithuania and distributed there by so-called book carriers, often at risk of life and limb.

The national romantic movement began with the newspaper »Aušra« (Dawn, 1883–86). Its most important poet was Maironis; He was followed by Aleksandras Dambrauskas (* 1860, † 1938) and Pranas Vaičaitis (* 1876, † 1901). The prose began with V. Kudirka, the founder of the magazine »Varpas« (The Bell), the Žemaitė, Lazdynų Pelėda (Lazdynų), Jonas Biliūnas (* 1879, † 1907), Šatrijos Ragana (* 1877, † 1930) i.a. followed. After the ban on printing was lifted (1904), the development of an independent literature accelerated, which in the period of statehood (1918-40) found an impressive all-round development. Classics of Lithuanian prose are Vaižgantas, V. Krėvė-Mickevičius, Petras Cvirka (* 1909, † 1947), Antanas Vienuolis (actually Antanas Žemaiė, * 1882, † 1957), Jurgis Savickis (* 1890, † 1952), Mykolaitis-Putinas, J. Grušas, who also gained prominence as a playwright in the post-war period, and Ieva Simonaitytė, which locates its German-Lithuanian topic in Northeast Prussia or in the Klaipėda area. The poetry is of great importance, in which B. Sruoga, Petras Vaičiūnas (* 1890, † 1959), K. Binkis, Salomėja Nėris (* 1904, † 1945), K. Bradūnas and J. Baltrušaitis with J. Aistis and B. Brazdžioni’s idiosyncratic talents appeared while the drama developed more slowly. V. S. Vydūnas wrote mystical-allegorical consecration plays.

1944–90 (Lithuanian SSR)

The Soviet occupation of Lithuania in 1944 forced a large part of the authors to emigrate, many of them gathered in important cultural centers in West Germany, later in the USA and South America.

In the Lithuanian SSR, writers were subject to Soviet literary doctrine. In addition to Cvirka and Nėris, who had always belonged to the left wing, some “bourgeois” authors such as Mykolaitis-Putinas and Vienuolis also had their say, as well as new authors, such as E. Mieželaitis, Julija Vaičiūnaitė (* 1937, † in the modernist poetry) 2001), J. Marcinkevičius, who also writes short stories and dramas, Janina Degutytė (* 1928, † 1990) and Sigitas Geda (* 1943, † 2008). Important storytellers are J. Avyžius, Vytautas Bubnys (* 1932, † 2021), M. Sluckis, Vytautė Žilinskaitė (* 1930), Romualdas Granauskas (* 1939, † 2014), Ramūnas Klimas (* 1945, † 2002) and Saulius Tomas Kondrotas (* 1953). As a playwright, besides Grušas v. a. Kazys Saja (* 1932) should be mentioned, who gave the theater new impetus.

When emigrating, a group around the magazine »Žemė« (Earth) with the narrator and playwright Antanas Škėma (* 1911, † 1961) and the poets Alfonsas Nyka-Niliūnas (* 1919, † 2015) and Bradūnas did a lot to preserve one tradition-conscious, but modern poetry contributed. The following should also be emphasized as poets: Aistis, Anatolijus Kairys (* 1914, † 2008), who also distinguished himself as a playwright, Henrikas Nagys (* 1920, † 1996), among others. an excellent translator of German poetry, Vladas Šlaitas (* 1920, † 1995) and Henrikas Radauskas (* 1910, † 1970). In the course of time, problems of the present and general questions of human meaning came to the fore, for example with Brazdžionis, Julija Švabaitė (* 1921), J. Mekas, Algimantas Mackus (* 1932, † 1964), Vitalija Bogutaitė (* 1934) and Marija Jurgita Saulaitytė (* 1941). The playwright and narrator Algirdas Landsbergis (* 1925, † 2004) and Kostas Ostrauskas (* 1926, † 2012) deliver interesting experiments with his Theater of the Absurd.

Recent developments

After Lithuania’s independence in 1990, there was little sense of optimism in the literature. In addition to previously taboo subjects – religion and Catholicism, the resistance of Lithuanian partisans to the Soviet occupation – pictures of deformed people appear in the Soviet system. Tomas Venclova (* 1937), A. Mackus and Radauskas, the prose author Icchokas Meras (* 1934, † 2014) and A. Škėma were discovered as classics of the »new« Lithuanian modernism. 2002 went with the death of the poet B. Brazdžionis, the prose writer Riardas Gavelis (* 1950, † 2002) and the poet and novelist Jurgis Kunčinas (* 1947, † 2002), who were among the most important writers in the country, brought the 20th century of Lithuanian literature to an end.

A new generation of authors gradually made the content and formal connection with the currents of postmodernism, in poetry and others. Donaldas Kajokas (* 1953), Juozas Erlickas (* 1953), Aidas Marčėnas (* 1960); in the prose Vanda Juknaitė (* 1949), Leonardas Gutauskas (* 1938), Jurga Ivanauskaitė (* 1961, † 2007). The main themes of the more recent works are the examination of Lithuanian history as well as the social developments of the present. This is also the case with the poet and essayist Eugenijus Ališanka (* 1960), one of the most widely translated contemporary Lithuanian authors.

Markas Zingerisė (* 1947) should be mentioned among the Jewish authors in Lithuania. After 1990, a reorientation took place in Lithuanian children’s and youth literature, which was already important during the Soviet era. Although translations still predominate, the books that are designed by Kętutis Kasparavičius (* 1954), the most famous illustrator in the country, are very popular.

Lithuanian Literature

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