Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Balys Sruoga

(1896 - 1947)


B.Sruoga

   Balys Sruoga was a writer of wide and colourful gift: a poet, a prose writer, a dramatist, a theatre critic, a researcher of literature and folklore.
    B.Sruoga was born on February 2, 1896, in Baibokai village, Biržai county, in a family of a farmer. He studied in the Realgymnasium of Panevėžys, from the fourth year he gave private lessons. In 1912 he had started to publish his work in "Aušrinė" (Morning Star), "Rygos naujienos" (Ryga news), "Lietuvos žinios" (Lithuanian News), "Naujas takas" (New Road), in the press of American Lithuanians, in a literary magazine "Vaivorykštė" (Rainbow). In 1914 B.Sruoga had entered the Institute of Forestry in St. Petersburg. In two years he was transferred to the Faculty of History and Philology at St. Petersburg University. Besides studies, B.Sruoga was interested in theatre, took part in Lithuanian performances. In 1916 B.Sruoga moved to Moscow to study literature at Moscow University. In Moscow B.Sruoga had written most of his best lyrical verses.
    In 1918 B.Sruoga returned to Lithuania. He worked as a teacher in Vilnius for some time. Later he worked in Kaunas in the Press Bureau, editing office of a daily "Lietuva", wrote many publicist articles. B.Sruoga was among the organisers of a satirical theatre "Vilkolakis" (Werewolf), wrote scripts for theatre. B.Sruoga was involved in political activities as well, he was a candidate of "Santara" group in the elections to Seimas, took part in the activity of Riflers (Šauliai) Union, the Society of Artists, the Society of Journalists.
    In 1921 B.Sruoga went to Munich University. He studied Slavistics, history of theatre and art. In 1924 he had defended a dissertation about Lithuanian folklore and was awarded a doctoral degree. After return to Lithuania B.Sruoga was reading courses of Russian literature and World theatre in the Faculty of Humanities at Kaunas University, he had established a Theatre seminar and an academic study of drama. Besides University B.Sruoga wrote many articles on literature and theatre. From 1930 B.Sruoga is famous as a dramatist. In 1939 when the Faculty of Humanities was moved to Vilnius, B.Sruoga continued his work at the University. During Soviet occupation he co-operated in underground press. In 1943 B.Sruoga was arrested and taken to Štuthof concentration camp near Dancig. In 1945 he had returned to Lithuania and worked at Vilniaus University.
    B.Sruoga died on October 6, 1947. He was buried in Rasų cemetery in Vilnius.