Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Mikalojus Daukša

The Preface Unto Benevolent Reader



    To the most significant of his works, "The Postilla", that is one of the most important monuments of ancient Lithuanian literature, M.Daukša had written two prefaces: one in Latin, the other in Polish.
    The second preface written in Polish language, "The Preface Unto Benevolent Reader", is of special significance. With it M.Daukša had proved himself as one of the most prominent patriots of Lithuania, who fought against the denationalization, in fact, polonisation, of Lithuanian gentry, and for the sustenance and strengthening of the sovereignty of Lithuanian state. "The Preface" asserts the essential concept of the nation that defines its basic nature by shared territory, customs, and, most significantly, language. The characteristic features of "The Preface" are predominance of humanistic ideas and argumentation, implicit to the Renaissance epoch, based on the laws of nature and human laws. According to these laws, by protection of vernacular the nations and the states of the world have survived, thus the Lithuanian nation, if it wishes to survive, must partake the similar way. The style of "The Preface" is an excellent example of the Renaissance rhetoric in Lithuanian literature.