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He was one of initiators of modern Lithuanian literature and became its major figure. During the 's, at the peak of his creative activities, his works were already considered classics and he himself as a typical national writer of Lithuania. Although many changes took place following the War World II and during the current occupation of Lithuania, his works still remain popular among his compatriots; he stands above the change of taste and time.
Two years later he left the seminary. After continuing his education privately, in he received the secondary school graduate certificate in Kazan, Russia. In the same year he enrolled in the Department of history-philosophy of the University of Kiev.
He graduated from Lvov with a degree of Ph. In order to teach in Russian universities he had to defend his thesis 4 at the University of Kiev. Because of a variety of circumstances which are not entirely clear, he did not teach in Kiev, but moved to Baku in where he taught Russian language and literature in a Russian secondary school.
After the Russian revolution in the government of Lithuania appointed him consul in Baku, capital of then established republic of Azerbaijan. For first two years he worked in the Ministry of Education, on the committee for publication.
After founding the university of Kaunas in Although, unable to preserve the independence of the country, because of the Soviet ready-made policies, he resigned from the two posts and, shortly before the second Soviet occupation of , left Lithuania.
After a sojourn in displaced persons camps in Austria, he was invited in to join the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught Slavic and Lithuanian literatures until his retirement in In the annals of Lithuanian literature he was a major and domineering figure throughout a period of fifty years. Moreover, he was well known as an editor of various literary and cultural magazines, 5 including the main publications of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Kaunas.
In addition to this, he worked, especially in his student days, as a compiler of Lithuanian folklore and later as an editor, publishing material he or others gathered. His earliest writings, consisting of various sketches and stories, were collected from various magazines and published in under the title "Sutemos" "Dusk". Krasowski and M. Major characteristics of his earliest writings are frequent digressions into reveries and a world of distant past, juvenile lyrical experiences, reflective and sad moods.
Many of them possess romantic and symbolic connotations. Chronologically, some tales of "Dainavos padavimai" date back to the period of his earliest writings.
For his romantic and historic content he employs various stylistic devices of Lithuanian folk songs and tales successfully adapting them to compositions of the tales and idiosyncrasies of characters in the tales. This play, therefore, belongs rather to a genre of closet drama. The major figure of "Skirgaila" is already the historical prince Skirgaila.
He is presented as an astute and practical politician, a man of reason, controlling his own desires. To depict individuals, caught in turmoil and throes of changing times. For instance, characters of the Christian world are balanced by similar or contrasting ones of the pagan Lithuania. It is notable that those who practice perfidy or cruelty for good of their country and those who choose love instead of fidelity do not appear as villains.
The complete play was published as a book in after many revisions and expansions. It is a lengthy, rather obscure mystical drama which tends to interpret symbolically the entire history of the nation. The play is well-structured, dramatic, presents intriguing situations and conflicts, yet lacks depth and vigor.
The modern life of independent Lithuania resulted in only two less significant works: the. Journalistic in treatment of this subject, it depicts a specific Soviet technique, recruiting people for propaganda purposes.
These stories are based on peasants' insignificant, everyday activities, focussing attention primarily on the psychological and moral problems. The social problems of peasantry are entirely ignored. Moreover, the stories are more realistic in approach and treatment of the subject matter than, for instance, his tales in the collection "Dainavos padavimai". Nevertheless, they appear as distinct individuals with firm beliefs and primitive ways of life.
The most characteristic feature of the stories is simplicity in plot, composition and narration. The plot often consists of a single event of few insignificant episodes ; this is especially noticeable in his realistic stories. The story usually unfolds according to natural events in place and time and the author serves as narrator.
Avoiding intellectual and refined discourse, he had created a powerful medium of expression which is akin to colloquial speech, especially in syntax, vocabulary, stylistic devices and at the same time melodious, picturesque literary language. The novellete consists of six parts, each of which may be regarded as a separate short story. The unity of the novellete, however, is maintained by the shepherd Gugis, the central figure, who appears in each section and gradually exposes his own complex and original personality.
The most notable feature of Gugis is a complete reliance upon his intuition, wisdom and experiences rather than wealth, religious rituals and the opinions of others. In spite of the fact that not all parts of the play are equally successful, i. In the story "Miglose" the rural life of the independent Lithuania is depicted in a rather somber color.
In addition, he deserves credit for introducing the Oriental style to Lithuanian literature. However, only the first two volumes of three originally projected, have been completed. The setting of the prologue is in heaven, while actions of the remaining parts take place in Palestine, spread over the time from Christ's birth till the death of Herod.
The backbone of the plot is life of Jeshua Jesus Christ , who is already in his teens, living in Galilee. Major characters, such as, Jehuda of Kerioth; Jehuda of Hamala; Barabbas, repeatedly invade the life of this silent land. Of particular effectiveness are extensive lofty dialogues which give an impression of a noble and solemn atmosphere to the themes.
In general, it presents a panoramic picture of the religious and moral world of Jews in Christ's time. It is characteristic that rulers, tragic and heroic individuals, suffer and perish as victims of their own inner dualism or dualistic situations; frequently duty comes before their personal life.
The types of peasantry, equally strong-willed and resolute, are either the country sages Gugis, Vainoras, Lapinas or hard-working, shrewd heads of patriarchal families Kukis, Grigas, Kalvaitis. Diversity in themes, sources of inspiration and original characters resulted in a similar variety of genres and literary methods. In the realm of romantic and heroic epic, romantic and psychological drama and character delineation he has no rival in the annals of Lithuanian literature.
In addition to this, he stands out as a master of literary language, which he successfully adapted to genres, themes and moods. However, his books were met with loud and invariable success; throughout his entire life he was one of the most read writer, his plays were staged and his works reprinted many time.
His popularity, of course, is due to the artistic values of his works as well as to his idealization of ancient Lithuania and his promotion of national romanticism. Volume 13 11 , No. At first he used it as a pen name and later as the surname. Ill, part I, pp. XIII, pp. Ostrauskas, "V.
In the following notes given I and II stand for these editions. The Herdsman and the Linden Tree , tr. The Temptation , tr.
No other writer has created as many personages that have become classic in Lithuanian literature. All of the multi-colored varieties of men interest him as a writer. In the legends it is stylized according to the folk songs and replete with astonishing vibrancy. Here it is calm, classically lucid, in measure not overdone with stylistic graces, yet avoiding shallow banality or, even more, any harshness.
He was one of initiators of modern Lithuanian literature and became its major figure. During the 's, at the peak of his creative activities, his works were already considered classics and he himself as a typical national writer of Lithuania. Although many changes took place following the War World II and during the current occupation of Lithuania, his works still remain popular among his compatriots; he stands above the change of taste and time. Two years later he left the seminary. After continuing his education privately, in he received the secondary school graduate certificate in Kazan, Russia.