Destinies of the State and its Writers in History. Dimensions of Their Tragedy and Success in Lithuanian Literature




literature, history, writers’ destiny, statehood, terror state, dimensions of national Self


The destiny of Lithuanian writers and the state carry intertwined meanings opening their dimensions to a painfully relevant aspect of history. Several compelling fate-fracturing cases emerged when the writer became an anti-hero or even a martyr in history as if being “swallowed by darkness” or possessed by forces hostile to the state. The signs of the literary success sinking into darkness marked the destinies of some Lithuanian writers like Salomėja Nėris (1904–1945), Petras Cvirka (1909–1947), and Kostas Kubilinskas (1923–1962), showing the decisive factor in the dramaturgy of the intersection between the state and the writer. It can be vice versa when the process of writing breaks into the light of historical openness, illuminating and changing the paradigm of literary processes with its fateful rise out of the depths of loss and the darkness of the grave. The fate of doctor Dalia Grinkevičiūtė (1927–1987) in exile can be such a particular case. The literary unfolding and flourishing in the media of Kristina Sabaliauskaitė (*1974) represents the culmination of the contemporary Lithuanian writers’ success on the international level in creative works about statehood. Her books, “Silva rerum” and “Petro Imperatorė” [Peter’s Empress], with their unique expression of the modernisation of the past times, play the role of the renewal of the genesis of the state and the citizen in the present day leading to the dynamics of forgotten statehood. It has a crucial significance for the aesthetic dimension of the writer’s style, its passion for baroque, and the revival of statehood as a yearning for history.

Author Biography

Jūratė Landsbergytė-Becher, Lithuanian Culture Research Institute

Lithuanian Culture Research Institute

Saltoniškių g. 58, LT-08105, Vilnius, Lithuania


Aleksa, G. (2021). Baik cirkus, Cvirka! [Stop the Circus, Cvirka!]. Vilnius : Lietuvos rašytojų sąjunga, 224 p.

Cvirka, P. (1963). Lakštingala [The Nightingale]. Vilnius : Vaga, 57 p.

Cvirka, P. (1965). Žemė maitintoja [Land the Nourisher]. Vilnius : Vaga, 258 p.

Cvirka, P. (1983). Raštai. VII tomas [Collection of Writtings]. Vilnius : Vaga, vol. 7, 575 p.

Fukuyama, F. (1992). The End of History and the Last Man. New York : The Free Press, 446 p.

Grinkevičiūtė, D. (2018). Shadows on the Tundra. Translated from Lithuanian by D. Valiukėnas. Bath : Peirene Press, 204 p.

Gutauskas, L. (2016) Mirror in Winter. Vilnius : Lietuvos nacionalinis muziejus, 80 p.

Ivaškevičius, M. (2012). Madagaskaras. Vilnius : Apostrofa, 120 p.

Karski, J. (2012). Mein Bericht an die Welt. München : Suhrkampf, 620 p.

Landsbergis, V. V. (2006, 2022). Bunkeris [Bunker]. Drama, online manuscript.

Landsbergis, V. V., Tamoševičius, G. (directors) (2022) Poetas [The Poet] (film).

Mackus, A. (1999). Trys knygos [Three Books]. Vilnius : Baltos lankos, 172 p.

Michnik, A. (2022). Putins Historic Blunder. Interviewed by Irena Grudzińska Gross. Project Syndicate, 3 June. URL: (accessed: 25.11.2022).

Nėris, S. (1957). Raštai. I tomas [Collection of Writtings]. Vilnius : Grožinės literatūros leidykla, vol. 1, 580 p.

Nėris, S. (1994). Prie didelio kelio [By the Big Road]. Anthology. Vilnius : Rašytojų sąjungos leidykla, 24 p.

Omolesky, M. (2022). The Ally of Executioners: Pushkin, Brodsky and the Deep Roots of Russian Chauvinism. The American Spectator, 13 May. URL: (accessed: 25.11.2022).

Plikūnė, D. (2017). Garsusis Petras Cvirka: Vilniaus centre stovi paminklas visai ne rašytojui. Pokalbis su filosofe Nerija Putinaite [Famous Peter Cvirka: a Monument to Not Much of the Writer in the Centre of Vilnius. Conversation with Philosopher Nerija Putinaitė]. Delfi, 11 July. URL: (accessed: 25.11.2022).

Putinaitė, N. (2019). Skambantis molis [Sounding Clay]. Vilnius : Naujasis židinys. Aidai, 408 p.

Ruseckaitė, A. (2019). Padai pilni vinių [The Feet Full of Nails]. A novel about Salomėja Nėris. Vilnius : Rašytojų sąjunga, 280 p.

Sabaliauskaitė, K. (2008–2016). Silva rerum. I–IV. Vilnius : Baltos lankos, 286 p., 294 p., 314 p., 397 p.

Sabaliauskaitė, K. (2019, 2021). Petro Imperatorė, I, II [Peter’s Empress]. Vilnius : Baltos lankos, vol. I–II, 332 p., 333 p.

Sabaliauskaitė, K. (2022a). Sabaliauskaitė apie poziciją Rusijos atžvilgiu: nekartokime Salomėjos Nėries klaidų [Sabaliauskaitė about the Position Towards Russia: Do Not Repeat Salomėja Nėris’ Mistakes]. LRT, 25 September. URL: (accessed: 25.11.2022).

Sabaliauskaitė, K. (2022b). Kristinos Sabaliauskaitės balsas Europoje: mano ginklas – mano žodžiai [Kristina Sabaliauskaitė’s Voice in Europe: My weapon is my words]. Michel Krielaars interview with Kristina Sabaliauskaitė for NRC publication. LRT, 29 March. URL: (accessed: 25.11.2022).

Sabaliauskaitė, K. (2022c). Kristina Sabaliauskaitė: draskyti rusiškų miglų voratinklius nuo akių vakariečiams yra būtina [Kristina Sabaliauskaitė: We Must Tear of the Cobwebs of the Russian Mist from the Westerners’ Eyes]. LRT, 30 December. URL: (accessed: 15.01.2023).

Sabaliauskaitė, K. (2022d). Kristinos Sabaliauskaitės „Petro Imperatorė“ – metų knyga Estijoje [Kristina Sabaliauskaitė’s ‘Peter’s Empress’ – the Book of the Year in Estonia]., 18 November. URL: (accessed: 15.01.2023).

Sventickas, V. (2022). Dalios Grinkevičiūtės dalia [The Fate of Dalia Grinkevičiūtė]. Vilnius : Lietuvos rašytojų sąjunga, 160 p.

Valiukaitė, I. (2022). Tamsioji K. Kubilinsko pusė: vaikų poeto eilėraščiai slėpė brolžudišką išdavystę [The Dark Side of K. Kubilinskas: The Poems of the Children’s Poet Hid the Fratricidal Betrayal]., 27 March. URL: (accessed: 15.01.2023).

Venclova, T. (2018). Afterword. In: Grinkevičiūtė, D. Shadows of the Tundra. Bath : Peirene Press, pp. 199–204.




How to Cite

Landsbergytė-Becher, J. “Destinies of the State and Its Writers in History. Dimensions of Their Tragedy and Success in Lithuanian Literature”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 107, June 2023, pp. 43-66, doi:10.31861/pytlit2023.107.043.



Literature: Markers of Success