ISSN / EISSN : 02580802 / 16481143
Current Publisher: Vilnius University Press (10.15388)
Total articles ≅ 735
Latest articles in this journal
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 86-97; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.3.7
This paper presents rhetorical aspects of a sixteenth century Lithuanian polemical treatise “Rozmowa polaka z litwinem” (“Pasikalbėjimas lenko su lietuviu”). This anonymous work is often labeled as “humanist”. Even though many scholars analyse its contents and emphasize references to the Classical Antiquity, formal aspects and their pragmatic implications remain unevaluated. Scholars have mainly focused on the issue of it authorship and quoted it illustrating cultural and political sixteenth century changes in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The main aim of this article is to reveal rhetorical tropes and figures employed by the author of the treatise and discuss the possible motivation of their selection. “Rozmowa” responds to, “Quincunx”, written in 1564 by a Polish polemist Stanisław Orzechowski (1513–1566). It is a part of a prolonged polemic between the later and Lithuanian Chancellor, Palatine of Vilnius Mikalojus Radvila “The Black”. The details and the course of their dispute is reconstructed by Orzechowski himself in the letter to Piotr Miscovius, which also is titled “Apologia pro Quincunce”. He refers to the “Rozmowa” without mentioning its title or particular author. Historiography attributes it to the Vilnius mayor (wójt) Augustyn Rotundus (c. 1520–1582). Both Orzechowski and Rotundus studied abroad and had spent some time in Italy. Not only curricula of their studies of artes liberales were influenced by Classical Antiquity, they also undoubtedly got familiar with humanist culture of the contemporary Europe.“Rozmowa” consists of two main parts, which are separated by a verse. The treatise is written in a form of a dialogue, and allows to portray a vivid discussion and multiple points of view. The first part of “Rozmowa” focuses on the questions of the political theory, whereas the second one is dedicated to the history of Lithuania, its dynasty and the issue of the Polish-Lithuanian Union. While the first part is polemical, the second one has epideictic character. The author employs personification, paradiastole and antithesis. The latter two allow changing the normative contents of political concepts, and irony highlights the absurdities in the Polish political practices. The Lithuanian, one of the characters, uses deprecation and interpellation, addresses the absent participants of a dialogue (e. g. Orzechowski himself). The author quotes Ancient authors, Scripture, Church Fathers and contemporary thinkers (e. g. Machiavelli and Erasmus), whose ideas provide him with literary topoi. Merged with the rhetorical techniques, they constitute the political arguments of the treatise and allows the author to express one’s political ideas.
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 98-108; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.3.8
This paper discusses the quotation frequency and reference strategies of Leon Battista Alberti, Federico Borromeo, and Gabriele Paleotti. These three Catholic art theoreticians of Early Modern period engaged Classical texts as the point of reference and expertly manipulated the Classical sources to provide contextual arguments in the formation of their own artistic theories. Alberti, Borromeo, and Paleotti directly alluded or referred to Pliny the Elder, Plutarch, Xenophon, Strabo, Aulus Gellius, and other Classical sources rather extensively. This can be noticed from various quotation strategies applied in Alberti, Borromeo, and Paleotti treatises and by statistical data on quotation frequency in Alberti’s De pictura, Paleotti’s Discorso intorno alle immagini sacre e profane, and Borromeo’s De pictura sacra.
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 75-85; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.3.6
This article is concerned with the critique of representation in art found in Augustine’s Confessions. The aim of the author is not only to reveal the fundamental influence of Plato and Aristotle on Augustine’s criticism, but to show the unique aspects of Augustine’s thought. The article considers Augustine’s critique of art in the Confessions to be three-fold: the ontological critique, the ethical (psychological) critique of intention and the critique of pagan ethos in art. The article considers the ontological critique as based on the neoplatonic dualism of body and soul as well as the platonic concept of image. Therefore Augustine considers artistic representation to be three-times removed from reality and sees the experience of God as the perfect aesthetical experience. Author states that the ethical critique considers art as a form of idolatry, which projects the innermost desires of the soul (the desire of God) onto the material pleasures of the outer world. Even though Augustine’s thinking is based on the Aristotelian concept of catharsis, the conclusions are entirely different – in Augustine’s opinion the aesthetical experience does not free the audience of its corporal appetites. Quite the contrary, the appetites get more intense. It should also be brought to the attention of the reader, that Augustine holds a certain hostility towards theatre and pagan literature as a pagan social practices. Augustine develops the thought of these Greek philosophers from the Christian point of view and bases his ethical critique of the aesthetic experience along with the critique of aesthetic practices on it. Moreover, he is more open to the concept of art as a fiction than Plato.
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 11-24; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.1.1
The article presents for the Lithuanian audience an interdisciplinary approach of literary canon studies that integrates diverse methods of various disciplines (sociology of literature and culture, literary and cultural history, teaching of literature, text reception and aesthetic response history, memory and media research and bibliography studies). The most intense development of literary canon studies can be observed in Western Europe and the United States in the last decade of the 20th century. This was due to the fact that the scholars engaged in the field of postcolonialism, gender studies and neo-Marxism gave it a strong impulse by initiating a debate about insufficient representation of some social groups (women, racial or ethnic minorities and people from lower social strata) in high school curricula in the USA. The debate was expanded into theoretical polemics of whether the canon is formed by means of objective aesthetic criteria or, on the contrary, canon depends on the social contract. Methodologically, investigations of literary canon that are genetically related to the tradition of sociology of culture seem to be the most productive, while this perspective provides an apparatus for a detailed investigation of relations between specific interests of literary field and wider national, social or group interests.The framework of this article is based on the studies of John Guillory, Renate von Heydebrand and Simone Winko. Their essential starting point is the understanding of the canon as a sociocultural process in which the political elite selects a corpus of significant texts in accordance with tradition and formulates practices that ensure the transmission of those texts for future generations. Therefore, canon formation turns to be a strategy based on complex relations of evaluation, cognition and actions that aims to conserve this selected knowledge and transmit it to future generations. The structure of the canon is directly related to the notion of literature and literariness; a society (or its group) defines its canon by considering what they recognize as valuable.Unlike religious canons, which can only be constructed by theologians, there are a lot of canonizing institutions (schools, universities, literary criticism, theatre repertoire, book market, libraries, etc.) involved in the formation of literary canons. They do not create any well-balanced system of the canon but rather conduct diverse practices of canonization. We can distinguish a micro and macro level in the process of canon formation. The micro level contains a lot of separate actions of canonization that propel the canonization process which enables the canon formation at macro level. Origin, stabilization and transformation of literary canon are multidimensional processes, thus it is essential not to lose sight of the interaction of separate dimensions.
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 78-89; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.1.4
This article analyzes the reflection on the myth of Faust in the work of Eduardas Mieželaitis (1919–1997). The author’s initial hypothesis that the interpretation of this myth can be used as another argument for revealing the poet’s dramatic feelings and self-reflection of inauthentic Soviet existence is tested. Together with other signs of existential self-abuse (such as the metaphors of “the ringed bird” and “the masked word”), this could help answer the question of whether the description of the 1920s generation (Alfonsas Nyka-Niliūnas, Bronius Krivickas, etc.) as “tragic” would fit Mieželaitis. Intertextuality is the best way to describe the nature of the analysis and socio-criticism would describe the interpretation of the results.E. Mieželaitis was (and still is) one of the most intertextual Lithuanian authors. The use of the “alien word” in his texts was a conceptual position of the poet’s creative consciousness. For him the world’s culture has become a central topic, and his texts have been occupied by the masters of arts and sciences of antiquity, Renaissance, or New Age, as well as modern European authors, Oriental classics, Bible quotations, paraphrases, allusions and other forms of culture. For the poet, Goethe’s Faust is one of such foundational texts, even if the Soviet era did not favor the “myths of the great contemplation” (Vytautas Kubilius). The forever relevant myth of Faust raises a fundamental question of person’s life choice – what one is prepared to sacrifice for one’s purpose, and what the results of that “sacrifice” are. But in the Soviet times Mieželaitis did not focus on this myth as a “symbol of the duality of human’s nature” – his human is rather one-dimensional and monolithic, full of positive energy directed towards technological progress and an absolute belief in the cognitive powers of man. This is the exact aspect that Faust embodies in Mieželaitis’ works, as if it was his “new man”, the product of the Enlightenment era. Mieželaitis did not care about the moment of negotiations between Faust and Mephistopheles – for him there could easily be no Mephistopheles. However, in late works (Postskriptumai, 1986; Gnomos, 1987; Laida, 1992), where the poet reflects on his life and creative path, there are many signs of disillusionment with the myth of human omnipotence as the results of his labor have turned against him – he wanted to create a heaven, but got a hell in the form of Hiroshima. It is at this point that Mephistopheles dominates the duet with Faust, but in general they have both become a “common place” and their function is limited by the text’s aesthetic figurativeness.My conclusion is that eventually the rich allusions to Faust in Mieželaitis’ works did not translate into reflections on the essence or meaning of being – he was not concerned with the problematics of human’s choices, duality, or contradictions. Thus, my...
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 115-118; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.1.7
Kauko, Mikko, Miika Norro, Kirsi-Maria Nummila, Tanja Toropainen & Tuomo Fonsén, eds. 2019. Languages in the Lutheran Reformation. Textual Networks and the Spread of Ideas. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 303 p. ISBN 978 94 6298 155 3.
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 67-76; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.4.5
Carnivalisation in literary prose has been gaining prominence both in Lithuanian and German literature. The present paper compares two novels, namely, Johannisnacht by Uwe Timm (1996) and Lietuvis Vilniuje by Herkus Kunčius (2011), related not merely through their themes of current affairs and reflections of the past, but also through poetics which continues the tradition of Carnivalesque. Although the two authors represent distinctly different cultural and literary backgrounds of two countries (West Germany and Lithuania), the novels transcend to a common intercultural space by their similar narrative strategies and carnivalised worldview.
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 101-121; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.4.8
The present paper examines the tropological significance of miniature figures in Jessie Burton’s novel The Miniaturist. By highlighting the ways in which the narrative’s figural system negotiates the structural and conceptual dichotomies of human/doll, object/thing, interiority/exteriority, authenticity/artificiality, and mobility/stasis, this reading of Burton’s novel attempts to show how the literary text rethinks the social life of things and the ambiguity of subject-object relations in the seventeenth-century Netherlands. Aligned with the commercial circuits of material culture, which underscore the moral ambivalence of the novel’s Dutch society, material objects are shown to exceed their decorative function and reveal their destructive purchase on human life.
Literatūra, Volume 61, pp 27-43; doi:10.15388/litera.2019.4.2
The poetry of Paul Celan has a reflected intention to ask about the temporal determination of human being and simultaneously questions the term and definition of time. In may of his works he reflects he the catastrophic transformation, the reflection also includes the revision of the conventional conception of time. He tries to show, that beside the usual forms of historical, causal und linear time, individuals also perceive timelessness. Paradoxically, the accomplishment of a historical event (Holocaust) evokes a consciousness of the historical caesura, and thus of the untold and the inhospitable. In his perception, for the poet, writing (after holocaust) means writing after apocalyptic break, where history does not exist, in other words surrounded by the timelessness. The task of preserving the memory of what happened in poetry goes hand in hand with the awareness of a disorder and often borders on the impossibility of verbalizing what has happened or even being able to express itself verbally. The experience of disconnection from the temporal sequence of events (through trauma) coincides with the moments of speechlessness, emptiness in consciousness, verbal utterance, and time experience overlap. This tendency is radicalized especially in his late work. In this article late works of Paul Celan, that deal with the questions of timelessness and manifestations of it are analysed (“Zeitlücke”, “Die Trombonestelle” “Largo” and others).