Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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A Good Fortune of Matrimony


    Žemaitė is a classic of Lithuanian prose. Her works are the beginnings of Lithuanian realistic prose. Before Žemaitė Lithuanian literature was dominated by poetry, and the few pages of prose were filled with didactic writings.
    The stories of Žemaitė reflect the real life of Lithuanian peasants, their ways of life, customs, family life, and interpersonal relations. They are a veritable encyclopedia of Lithuanian country life at the brink of 19th and 20th centuries. The stories of Žemaitė deal with significant problems of society of this epoch: the realities of peasantry after canceling serfdom, cultural lag, national oppression; and at the same time she disclosed a great spiritual energy of the common people that urges them to build a better, brighter life. Žemaitė found a specific sphere of depicting this. The depravities and contradictions of society she revealed as the drama of a person occurring in a family.
    The stories of a cycle "A Good Fortune of Matrimony" take the most prominent place among works of Žemaitė. By depicting marriage, family, and a fate of a woman in family, she disclosed the essential phenomena of contemporary to her reality. The cycle consists of six stories. Some of them tell about unsuccessful family life ("The Daughter-in-law", "Petras Kurmelis", "Topylis", "Did Not Have a Good Mother"), the others show a happy family life ("Sutkai", "The Captured Devil").
    Žemaitė does not simply describes reality, she is a conscious artist and a talented narrator. Her stories broadly describe the surroundings and everyday life of her personages. The works are charming with rich and colourful language, lively, vivid, and unique images of characters.