Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Šatrijos Ragana

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In an Old Manor

In an Old Manor

    The most significant and interesting work of Šatrijos Ragana is a tale "In an Old Manor". It is an autobiographical narrative about a Lithuanian estate in the second half of 19th century. The basis of the tale consists of life of one of Samogitian landlord's family, their everyday occupations, relations with other people, entertainment, spiritual interests and inspirations.
    The manor of Šatrijos Ragana is not an embodiment of social or moral evil, as in works of Žemaitė or Lazdynų Pelėda, but in the first place it is a place of longing for humanity and beauty. The manor is a kind of the last island of old-time traditions and disappearing culture in the sea of novel spirit and novel ideas; an island that slowly sinks, unable to accept the new spirit and live with it. The old manor in the tale appears as a symbol of democratism, the source of many ethical and esthetic values, as a memory of sweetest dreams and inspirations.
    The tale depicts the echoes of Lithuanian national movement penetrating among land-owning nobility, reveals their relations with social and cultural life of Lithuanians. Through the reflections proving a level of inner culture of the greater part of nobility shows their antagonism towards the Lithuanian national movement.
    The tale "In an Old Manor" is one of the most artful works of Šatrijos Ragana. The writer creates the images of personages by the means of psychological analysis, realistic detail, and characterization of speech. The composition of the tale is well considered. From the external picture of the manor, from the tight circle of family it leads towards wider circle of life phenomena; from the world of childhood with its fairy tales and secrets - towards essential social problems.
    Šatrijos Ragana was the first writer in Lithuanian literature who widened the range of description of people, and concentrated on their spiritual life. One of the most essential features of her characters is a psychological veracity and depth. The writer could distinguish the most subtle movements of human soul. This humanistic trend is most significant in her works.