The Literary image of the pole in the Republic of Lithuania (1918-1940)

Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Anglų kalba / English
The Literary image of the pole in the Republic of Lithuania (1918-1940)
In the Book:
Imagology profiles: the dynamics of national imagery in literature / ed. by Laura Laurušaitė. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018. P. 199-213
Degeneravusio dvarininko paveikslas; Kitas; Klastingo lenko įvaizdis; Lenkiškumas; Lietuviškumas; Lietuvių ir lenkų santykiai; Literatūra; Literatūra, XX a.; Literatūrinis įvaizdis; Savas ir kitas; Tarpukaris; Tautinė tapatybė.
Image of the treacherous Pole; Interwar; Literary image; Lithuanian literature; Lithuanian literature, 20th century; Lithuanian-Polish relations; Lithuanianness; National identity; Other; Polishness; Portrayal of the degenerate landowner; Self and other.
Summary / Abstract:

ENThe Pole, seen as a brother by fate in Lithuanian literature of the early nineteenth century, was transformed into an image of the fiercest enemy of the Lithuanians a hundred years later. A complex of specific historical, political, culture, and social factors contributed to the demonization of the Pole in interwar Lithuania: the Lithuanian-Polish military conflict (1919-20) and twenty years of propaganda between the two countries over the Vilnius region, a biased approach to the ideas of nineteenth-century romantic Lithuanian historiography, manifestations of the Polish-speaking local population’s disloyalty to the nation state of Lithuania, and the social tension between the Lithuanian-speaking peasantry and the Polishspeaking gentry encoded by four centuries of serfdom. In the works of literary fiction on historical themes, the features of the Pole as a national type frequently coincide with the assessment of the policies of Poland. The negative attitude towards the role Poland played in the history of Lithuania, inherited from Daukantas’s historiographical tradition, and the annexation of the Vilnius region by its southern neighbour, were the reasons why the image of the "treacherous Pole" took root in interwar Lithuanian literature. We could argue that treachery dominates the image of the Pole constructed during this period, treachery being a trait of the national character exposed in the allegedly historical process of the development of Lithuanian-Polish relations. Since the Lithuanian literature of the interwar period interlinked ethnic and social images, works of literary fiction were dominated by an overlapping ethnic-social stereotype of the Polish landlord. In the interwar Lithuanian society, the historical memory of serfdom generated a negative relationship with the Polish-speaking gentry that declared peasant roots as the essential component of national identity.This negative assessment was further reinforced by the myth of the Lithuanian nobility that morally degenerated after the union between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Poland, a myth that evolved under the influence of romantic historiography. In literature, it manifested itself as an allegorical narrative about the spiritual malaise of the Polish-speaking nobility, the only cure for which was overcoming the boundary separating the Polish-speaking landlords from the Lithuanian peasants; in other words, assimilation with the people. Texts of literary fiction modelling the desired "re-Lithuanization" of the local nobility correlated poorly with the reality of interwar Lithuania. Due to this, in the 1930s there was waning enthusiasm among Lithuanian writers for the "conversion" of Polish-speaking landlords, and a tendency became more distinct to caricature them as reactionaries following the laws of the no-longer existing estate society. Due to the overlap of social and ethnic images, the public and economic model of life in the Republic of Lithuania was depicted as democratic, modem, and with prospects, while the opposing Polish world, represented by Polish-speaking landlords, was shown as anti-democratic, outdated, and doomed to extinction. [Extract, p. 210-211]

Related Publications:
2020-10-13 18:53:49
Views: 12    Downloads: 6