Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe

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Baranauskas, Antanas

  • LithuanianLiterature (fictional prose/drama)Literature (poetry/verse)
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    Creative writersClerics
  • Title:
    Baranauskas, Antanas (Antoni Baranowski)
  • Title2:
    Baranauskas, Antanas
  • Text:

    Antanas Baranauskas (Anykščai 1835 – Sejny 1902), known especially for his poem <em>Anykščių šilelis</em> (“The Forest of Anykščiai”, 1861), was born in a peasant family. After his schooling, he did secretarial work and in Seda became close to the young poetess Karolina Proniewska/Praniauskaitė, who introduced him to the poetry of Mickiewicz and encouraged him to write in Lithuanian; her translation of the fairy tale <em>Eglė žalčių karalienė</em> from Kraszewski’s <em>Witolorauda</em> (1840) later found its way into Baranauskas’s poetic masterpiece <em>Anykščių šilelis</em>. The couple was broken up when in 1856 Barakauskas was given a placement to study for the priesthood at the Seminary of Varniai, directed at the time by the nationally-minded Bishop Motiejus Valančius. During his studies, Baranauskas developed an interest in dialects and folksongs; during his further studies  at the St Petersburg Roman Catholic Theological Academy (1858-62) he participated in the secret organization <em>Rzeczpospolita Baublisowa</em>. His major poetic works date from these years, his song <em>Nu Lietuva, nu Dauguva</em> (from <em>Kelionė Peterburkan</em>) becoming popular among Lithuanian students in Moscow, St Petersburg and Dorpat/Tartu. Around this time, he also entered into correspondence with the linguist August Schleicher, whom he later helped to edit Donelaitis’s 18th-century pastoral poem <em>Metai</em>. Further studies took him to the major Catholic universities of western Europe (Munich, Rome, Innsbruck, and Louvain/Leuven; on the way, he visited Schleicher in Jena, 1875). On Valančius’s invitation, he taught theological disciplines at the Samogitian Priest Seminary in Kaunas while pursuing his philological interests. His Lithuanian grammar appeared in 1873-75, his translation of Schleicher’s <em>Litauische Grammatik</em> (1856) in 1879. Baranauskas was appointed bishop of Telšiai (1883), then of Sejny/Seinai (1897), where he died in 1902, leaving part of his manuscripts to Jonas Basanavičius. By the time of his death, his ideal of a Grand Duchy uniting the Polish, Lithuanian, and Belarusian ethnicities had rendered him marginal to the politicized national movement.

    In Baranauskas’s own account, he wrote his masterpiece <em>Anykščių šilelis</em> in order to rebut a teacher’s claim that Lithuanian was unsuited to creating great poetry like Mickiewicz’s <em>Pan Tadeusz</em>. It first appeared in the poetic almanacs published by Ivinskis in 1860 and 1861; a second edition appeared in Prague in 1875, the third, authorized one in Weimar as part of the collection <em>Ostlitauische Texte</em> (1882). Intended for a philologically schooled readership, it was printed in two parellel columns juxtaposing Baranauskas’s proposed standard language with a dialect version; Baranauskas aimed to devise a written standard that could be read differently by the speakers of different dialects.

    Other poetry collections by Baranauskas include <em>Dainų dainelė</em> (1857), <em>Pasikalbėjimas giesmininko su Lietuva</em> (1859) and <em>Dievo rykštė ir malonė</em> (1859), among his linguistic works are <em>Mokslas lietuviškos kalbos</em> (1872) and <em>Pastabos apie lietuvių kalbą ir žodyną</em> (1898). Until his death, he worked on a Lithuanian Bible translation.

    Word Count: 569

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  • Ambrazas, Vytautas (ed.); Lietuvių kalbos enciklopedija (Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas, 1999).

    Girdzijauskas, Juozapas (ed.); Lietuvių literatūros istorija. XIX amžius (Vilnius: Lietuvių literatūros ir tautosakos institutas, 2001).

    Korsakas, Kostas; et al.; Antanas Baranauskas: Raštai (vol. I and II; Vilnius: Vaga, 1970).

    Kubilius, Vytautas; Rakauskas, Vytautas (eds.); Lietuvių literatūros enciklopedija (Vilnius: Lietuvių literatūros ir tautosakos institutas, 2001).

    Mikšytė, Regina; Antano Baranusko kūryba (Vilnius: Vaga, 1964).

    Riškus, Jonas; Lietuvių literatūros istorija: XIX a. pirmoji pusė (Vilnius: Mokslas, 1982).

    Schmalstieg, William R.; “Baudouin de Courtenay’s contribution to Lithuanian linguistics”, Lituanus, 41.1 (1995), 5-25.

    Subačius, Paulius Vaidotas; Antanas Baranauskas: Gyvenimo tekstas ir tekstų gyvenimas (Vilnius: Aidai, 2010).

    Subačius, Paulius Vaidotas; “«Anykščių šilelio» politekstas: Autoriteto suspendavimas ar įtvirtinimas?”, Language culture, 80 (2007), 135-142.

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    All articles in the Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe edited by Joep Leerssen are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://www.spinnet.eu.

    © the author and SPIN. Cite as follows (or as adapted to your stylesheet of choice): Sniečkutė, Marija, 2022. "Baranauskas, Antanas", Encyclopedia of Romantic Nationalism in Europe, ed. Joep Leerssen (electronic version; Amsterdam: Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms, https://ernie.uva.nl/), article version, last changed 20-04-2022, consulted 02-12-2023.