Lithuanian Literature

For some people reading is one of the most valuable free time activities. There is nothing to be surprised about as it is both interesting, relaxing and useful. Especially, when reading well known works where the wisdom above price is written down and open to everyone.

The old Lithuanian literature was not the so called fiction. In 14-18th centuries the prints were mostly of national or religious format – chronicles, metrics, juridical documents, hymnals, catechisms an similar. However, almost all these works included some elements of artistic style. The literature of Lithuanian Middle Ages was written in various languages, actually, as the nations usually then were in a quite big disunity, here usually were no languages uniting nations. Thus various languages like German, Polish, Russian, Latin and Lithuanian were used in the old Lithuanian literature.

The old Lithuanian literature is divided into 3 stages. From the end of 14th till the middle of 16th century it was the so called Middle Age literature. That was the period of writing mostly regular national and religious works. Since the middle of 16th century till the middle of 17th century it was the age of renaissance, the reformation then began, the famous Union of Lublin which formed the Commonwealth of Two Nations was signed. In the influence of fact of close relationship between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland, the economical, cultural and in turn literary life prospered. Since the middle of 17th till the end of 18th century the baroque epoch took place in Lithuanian literature. In Lithuania there were times of anarchy and decline. Only the Lithuania Minor, the former Prussia felt the rise in literature. Since the end of 18th till the second half of 19th century it was the period of the so called educational literature. The new, capitalistic society started formatting, fast secularization overgrew religious themes. The new period of literature intercepted and adjusted many things from the old literature and became the new, ideological and artistic fiction prospect.

The first lithuanian book „Catechism“  was written by Martynas Mažvydas and printed in 1547. The book was dedicated to be the ambassador of church and country of Prussia where it was printed as well as of Lithuania. Appealing to hearts of everyone from simple rustics to priests the book propagated intentions to read, to learn, to love the homeland and to rely on God.  However, according to Lithuanian historians, first Lithuanian manuscripts appeared much earlier, in the end of 14th century already. The idea is really logical as then the Christianity was brought to Lithuanian lands and the only way to teach people prayers and simple religious rules was writing down the texts.

The former of Lithuanian fiction was Donelaitis, who wrote the famous poem “The Year” (“Metai” lit.) in approximately 1765-1775. The poem of 4 parts about all seasons of the year describes the life of bondmen, customs, traditions, lyric landscapes and national consciousness. Other old Lithuanian writers are Mikalojus Daukša famous for translation of “Postile”, Konstantinas Sirvydas famous for his Lithuanian dictionaries, poet Dionizas Poška, linguist Simonas Daukantas, poet Antanas Baranauskas.

Nowadays manuals of Lithuanian language are full of valuable texts of Lithuanian authors of various historical periods. Schoolchildren must get acquainted with the texts as this artistic heritage is really very rich and colorful. Mix of early nature rendering and nowadays mystic illusions unite into complete unique Lithuanian treasure of literature.