Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas

(1893-1967)


V.Mykolaitis-Putinas

    Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas was born on January 6, 1893, in Pilotiškės village, Marijampolė county, in a family of farmers. Having finished four classes at school he entered Seinai clerical seminary. In 1911 he had published the first poem in "Šaltinis" (The Source). Later his poems were published in "Šaltinis", "Ateitis" (Future), "Draugija" (Society). Though before graduating from the seminary V.Mykolaitis-Putinas had doubts about his vocation he had been initiated into priesthood in 1915. He did not work as a priest and in 1915-1917 studied further in St. Petersburg Spiritual Academy. There he became closely acquainted with Russian lyrics of J. Baltrušaitis, took interest in the poetry of Russian symbolists, wrote poems to "Atetities spinduliai" (Beams of future) and "Lietuvių balsas"(Lithuanian voice). In 1917 in St. Petersburg, the first collection of lyrics "The Red Blossoms" with a poem "The Duke Žvainys" by V.Mykolaitis-Putinas was published. V.Mykolaitis-Putinas had received a scholarship (through the National Foundation of American Lithuanians) to continue studies in West Europe. In 1918 he left for Swiss. In 1918-1922 in Frieburg University he studied philosophy, history of philosophy and art, literature. At the University V.Mykolaitis-Putinas had matured as a writer: had written short stories, a drama, many poems. In 1922 he had defended a dissertation on V.Solovjov's aesthetics. He was awarded a doctoral degree and in 1922-1923 prepared for a professorship at Munich University, studied the issues of literature and art.
    In 1923-1929 V.Mykolaitis-Putinas read courses at Lithuanian University: New Lithuanian literature, Introduction to world literature, Aesthetics. In 1924-1932 he had edited "Židinys" (The Hearth); in 1925 was a secretary of the Society of Lithuanian Artists, helped to establish an art society of students "Šatrija", published a collection of poems "Between the Two Sunrises" (1927). In 1931 V.Mykolaitis-Putinas went for a vacation to Nice (France) where he had written the first two parts of his most important work - a novel "In the Shadow of Altars" (three parts were published in 1933).
    In 1935 V.Mykolaitis-Putinas had deserted priesthood officially, however, he remained loyal to Christianity and stayed a believer. In 1936 he had published a collection of poems "Roads and Cross-roads", later he did not write poetry for some time, but published scholarly studies and prose.
    In 1933-1937 V.Mykolaitis-Putinas was the President of the Society of Lithuanian Writers, in 1940-1945 - a professor at Vilnius University, in 1945-1946 - a Director of The Institute of Lithuanian Literature at the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. In 1954 he had published a collection "Poetry".
    V.Mykolaitis-Putinas died on June 7, 1967 in Kačerginė, near Kaunas. He was buried in Vilnius.