Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0204-2061 / 0204-2061
Published by: Vilnius University Press (10.15388)
Total articles ≅ 664
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Latest articles in this journal

PaulS Daija
Published: 5 July 2021
Knygotyra, Volume 76, pp 27-50;

The article explores the development of peasants’ reading habits over the 18th century in the Latvian-inhabited Lutheran regions of Russia’s Baltic provinces Courland/Kurzeme and Latvian Livonia/Vidzeme. By analysing the transition from intensive to extensive reading patterns, as well as from loud and ceremonial to silent and private reading, insight into the available statistical sources and information from subscription lists is provided and the observations of contemporaries are scrutinized. The views on Latvian peasants’ reading habits expressed by Baltic-German Lutheran parsons Friedrich Bernhard Blaufuß, Joachim Baumann, Christian David Lenz, Johann Friedrich Casimir Rosenberger, Alexander Johann Stender, as well as those published by Johann Friedrich Steffenhagen, are discussed within the context of urban and middle-class reading patterns. While the number of literate peasants in the 18th century was high, reaching one third in Courland and two thirds in Livonia by the turn of the 19th century, the motivation for reading and everyday habits differed, and while extensive reading increased, before the 1840s, the Baltic rural so­ciety did not see a phenomenon similar to the European middle-class rea­ding revolution. The article focuses on differentiating among various types of readers, divided according to their confessional lines (Herrnhutian Brethren or Lutheran Orthodox Church), social stan­ding (reading patterns were different depending on rural professions) or genera­tion (the older generation tended to prefer loud and ceremonial religious reading while the younger generation more often adopted silent, private and secular reading). The collective reading of books has been explored by demonstrating how it allowed combining the reading of books with other activities and also performed a socializing function. The avai­lable sources demonstrate that quiet reading did not replace reading aloud, in the same way that extensive reading did not replace intensive, but all reading practices continued to co-exist alongside each other, creating an increasingly diverse and saturated reading experience.
Alma Braziūnienė
Published: 5 July 2021
Knygotyra, Volume 76, pp 166-206;

The Society of 27 Book Lovers in Kaunas that functioned in 1930–1940 played an important role in the history of Lithuanian culture. It signified the outset of the organized bibliophilic movement in Lithuania. The society, brought together by Vytautas Steponitis, Paulius Galaunė, Viktoras Cimkauskas and other like-minded people, contributed immensely in shaping the tradition of bibliophilic activity, upraised the culture of the Lithuanian book, and developed aesthetic circulation and bibliophilic book publishing (10 publications were published). All of this was done by a dozen (ranging in number from 15 to 21) devoted book lovers and bibliophiles par excellence. Their bibliophilic hobby transcended the boundaries of amateur activities, and the Society operated as a professional publishing house giving rise to the publishing of scientific periodicals of book science. The article, based on the archives of this Society kept in the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, analyses personal expression of the members of the Society, their interrelationships, seeks an answer leading to the fact that extremely prominent figures managed to get together for fruitful bibliophilic activities, examines the atmosphere that prevailed in the amateur meetings of the Society of 27 Book Lovers, publishing and various other activities in the daily life. It is not intended to bring to light all the members of the Society, the article focuses only on some of the most prominent personalities and those moments of their activity that have not been previously examined by other researchers. It was concluded that the rotation of the amateur members of the Society of 27 Book Lovers was natural, determined by various life circumstances: the Society, which launched its activities in 1931 had 15 members, and until 1940, another 12 new members joined in, however the Society lost 10 of them as well. The number of seceding members was determined by the distancing of some members from bibliophilic ideas, lack of time (professional activities, positions of high responsibility), etc. However, the core of the Society (about 10 to 12 people) remained stable at all times and ensured the productive work of the Society. The productive activities of the Society were directly influenced by the chairmen elected for the term of 3 years (V. Steponaitis, Kazys Bizauskas, Juozas Balčiūnas-Švaistas), however, other members, even without being on the board, acted as contributors to various activities. The Society operated according to a very formalized procedure (recording of meetings, board meetings, excursions and other activities, approval of minutes, etc.), however, at the same time the archives of the Society testify that a cosy amiable atmosphere of communication and a sense of humour prevailed. This group of people was of one mind, they knew each other for a long time, almost all of them were of the same generation and of similar age. Differing political views did not interfere with bibliophilic activities. The correspondence of the members of the board on the failures of the publishing of publications reveals intercommunion, the realized meaning of the cultural work, the significance of V. Steponaitis as a personality uniting the Society in its activities. The activities of the Society of 27 Book Lovers demonstrated that such work could be carried out only by a strong group of exceptional figures, the activities of whom distinctly represented the elite bibliophilia, and hence, the tradition of the organized bibliophilic movement organically stemming even from the 19th century. The 27 Book Lovers managed to extend this tradition.
Sara Kokkonen
Published: 5 July 2021
Knygotyra, Volume 76, pp 207-227;

The Tiina book series for girls circulated in Finland for a considerable period of thirty years (1956–1986). This girls’ series was quite popular among young girls during the whole period, and the protagonist Tiina has appealed to young Finnish readers for decades. Different generations have read the girls’ books about the brave and tomboy heroine. Girls’ series books are part of the girls’ literature genre, which was developed originally in the mid-nineteenth century. This article explores the reading and reception of Tiina books in the context of the Finnish and international girls’ literature and reading research. Female readers of various ages participated in a reading survey and submitted written accounts of their experiences reading the Tiina books. In particular, this article seeks to examine the engagement of readers with the books and the girl protagonist.
Sofia Kotilainen
Published: 5 July 2021
Knygotyra, Volume 76, pp 114-134;

In this article the author explores the early development of the identity as a writer of a Finnish-speaking poet Lovisa (or Isa) Asp (1853–1872). She wrote her lyrics in the Finnish language in the 1870s, and she is regarded as the first 19th-century female Finnish poet (whose works were published in Finnish). She began writing poetry (initially in Swedish) as a teenager and started her literary career as a contributor to children’s magazines. Asp began her studies at the Teacher Training College in Jyväskylä in autumn 1871 with the aim of working as an elementary school teacher, but she also dreamt of becoming an established writer someday. Unfortunately, her early death meant that most of her poetry remained unpublished until the 21st century. The author investigates what kind of literature Asp read and why she was able to read extensively as a child in the remote Finnish-speaking countryside at a time when Finnish-language literature for children was scarce and still only nascent and being developed for nationalistic reasons; in those decades, most of the books and publications were still written in Swedish. The author analyses in particular the gendered experiences of reading (and writing) in the life of a young girl and woman from the countryside, because in those days most of the authors were men living in towns. A special focus of the article is on the texts that she wrote and edited for children’s magazines. The author studies her autobiographical sources using a biographical method and considers what kind of literature and libraries inspired her career as an early female poet. National poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg and poet and historian Zacharias Topelius, the major Fennoman authors, were the literary models for the young Isa Asp. Their works inspired her to write and to aspire for a career as a poet and author, an occupation that was then still rare for a woman. Writing for children’s magazines was a crucial stage in her career, and her identity as a writer was strengthened by the opportunity to have her poems and short tales published. Also, writing for these handwritten as well as published magazines made her dreams visible and encouraged her to pursue them with effort. All this shows that her development as a writer was a deliberate, goal-oriented process. The publication of her poems and obtaining the community’s approval of them were important for the young poet. The encouragement to pursue a career in writing that Isa with her literary gifts received as a child from her immediate surroundings helped her to achieve her dreams, which in the end turned out not to be impossible to realise.
Tuija Laine
Published: 5 July 2021
Knygotyra, Volume 76, pp 51-71;

In the early modern Finland, the Catechisms were the only literature intended for children. Otherwise, the children from all classes had to read adults’ literature. Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809 and the reading of Swedish literature was possible especially among the upper classes and even the common people in the Swedish-speaking western coast. Three case studies of Finnish upper-class children from the 17th and the 18th centuries tell us about children’s reading habits, attitudes to reading and reading motivation in this situation. Richard M. Ryan’s & Edward L. Deci’s theory of self-determination has been used as a theoretical basis for this study. It highlights the combination of three basic psychological needs as means to motivation: autonomy, competence and relatedness. Autonomy was the most limited during the 17th century and emerged step by step towards the end of the 18th century. Relatedness would depend on circumstances in the family. If the family led an active social life, it would also reflect in the reading habits of the household members. All the children in this research belonged to the upper class, so they could read, and they studied diligently. Therefore, they felt competence. The relatives exhorted them in studying, which still increased their self-confidence. Motivation was mostly external at the beginning, but in some cases it gradually grew towards internal motivation. According to these cases, upper-class girls were freer to read what they liked than boys. Comparing to boys they were less educated, but at the same time they experienced less pressure to make progress in literary reading. If the domestic duties permitted, they would be able to use their free time for reading fiction. Boys had to concentrate on thinking about their future careers and subjects relevant to that.
Žavinta Sidabraitė
Published: 5 July 2021
Knygotyra, Volume 76, pp 72-92;

Researchers constantly add new items to the bibliography of Lithuanian publications published in East Prussia in the last decade of the 18th century. The initiatives of publishing in local languages of that period were driven by the reforms of the Church and schools carried out by the Prussian authorities while the Enlightenment was coming to an end and the ideo­logy of regional particularism was continuously growing in the country. As can be seen from newly discovered archival documents and already recorded bibliographic information, at least four publications dedicated for primary Christian education were published in Prussia in 1795, namely, the New Testament, the psalm book, the semi-secular reading textbook The Friend of Children (Kūdikių prietelius), and the catechism for rural schools. The editions of the New Testament and Kūdikių prietelius are recorded in the Lithuanian bibliography, however, nothing has been known about the mentioned editions of the psalm book and the catechism so far. The circumstances of their publishing are analysed in the article.
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