Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

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Jurgis Baltrušaitis

(1873 - 1944)



   Jurgis Baltrušaitis is a poet of symbolist trend, whose creative work began in Russian language. He can be considered as an exile writer in Lithuanian literature. Since his very youth he did not live in Lithuania, but the second half of his life was marked by the search of his Lithuanian roots, where he sought the inspiration and meaning of his works.
    J.Baltrušaitis was born on May 2, 1873, to a family of farmers in Paantvardis village near Jurbarkas. He acquired his primary education at home and under tuition of the local dean. In 1855 he entered Kaunas gymnasium, and graduated from there in 1893; then he entered the Faculty of Physical and mathematical sciences at Moscow University. At the same time he attended lectures at the Faculty of history and philology, and studied foreign languages. His studies were funded from private lessons. Since 1895 J.Baltrušaitis began to collaborate in Russian literary magazines. Together with S.Polyakov he established a publishing house "Scorpio" which published magazines and also collections of Baltrušaitis's verses.
    In 1900-1914 J.Baltrušaitis often visited and lived in countries of Western Europe. The war and revolution of 1917 he spent in Russia, where actively participated in the Lithuanian relief activities, and took part in Russian cultural life. In 1919 he was elected a president of all-Russia union of writers.
    After his appointment as an ambassador of independent Lithuania in Russia in 1920 J.Baltrušaitis began to visit Lithuania more frequently. In 1932 he was celebrated a doctor honoris causa of Vytautas Magnus University. In 1939 J.Baltrušaitis was appointed as a counselor of Lithuanian embassy in Paris.
    J.Baltrušaitis died in Paris on January 3, 1944; he is buried at Montrouge cemetery.