Classic Lithuanian Literature Anthology

about the author
Bibliography
To the contents
Download PDF
List of Texts
Main Page
bg_stamp.jpg - 3098 Bytes
Liudvikas Rėza
(Martin Ludwig Rhesa)

IŠ ĮVADINIO STRAIPSNIO K.DONELAIČIO "METŲ" 1 LEIDMUI
The Preface of the First Edition of "The Seasons" by K. Donelaitis

L.Reza

    The first edition of "The Seasons" by K. Donelaitis was prepared by L.Rėza and dedicated to Wilhelm von Humboldt. It includes Lithuanian original of the work and its translation to German as well as German preface and commentaries. The fact that the Lithuanian original was surrounded by German context showed that the publication was meant primarily for the intelligentsia which did not know Lithuanian. It was the target audience to which the genius of Donelaitis had to be revealed, the significance of his creative work disclosed and the value of Lithuanian nation proved.
    This article was the first study of K. Donelaitis life, personality, and creative work. It was a foundation to the later studies of Donelaitis works. The main problems related to Donelaitis were outlined and briefly discussed in the article. L.Rėza had compared the work by Donelaitis with a wide literary context (antique and modern writers) and emphasized the originality of "The Seasons". He had described it as an immortal monument to Lithuanian language, custom, spiritual culture and way of life, that was equal to classic literary works of other nations (Slavic, Germanic, Celtic). "The Seasons" had a great importance to Lithuanians - it had become a fundament to all original Lithuanian literature. L.Rėza had described K. Donelaitis as a genius of the nation, the first Lithuanian poet who aspired to reach "the kingdom of truth and beauty" on the "wings of the genius". L.Rėza had disclosed the closeness to the people and simplicity of "The Seasons"; discussed the genre, composition, metrics of the work and art of translation; revealed the unusual richness of the poetic language of Donelaitis. L.Rėza met people who had known K. Donelaitis personally and gathered important facts about the life of Donelaitis, noble features of his personality, diversity of his talents, and evidence of his artistic gift.