Eugenija Valienė

www.kamane.lt , 2009 12 24


In brief: The majority of readers forecast that the winner of the Book of the Year is clear: the historical novel by Kristina Sabaliauskaitė “Silva Rerum”. Readers and critics agree regarding the popularity of the novel: it is a good example of popular literature. The debut book of K.Sabaliauskaitė usually receives only praise; however, when attempts are made to look at it more critically, inadequate reactions of apologists of the writer appear.

The reviewer of lrytas.lt V.Normanas (article “Genocide of Lithuanian Writers for Your Money”) accepted the criticism of the literature critic Brigita Speičytė (article “Mosquito, Small Monster, or in Small Letters About Silva Rerum”) targeted at the novel “Silva Rerum” of K.Sabaliauskaitė inadequately and too personally. However, the commercial aspect of the novel was noticed y both: B.Speičytė and V.Normanas.

B.Speičytė found the advertisement strategy of the novel “Silva Rerum” unusual in Lithuanian literature market, e.g., quotations from reviews written by authoritative persons on the cover of the book. Still, it is no novelty as such strategy is widely used in the world. Therefore, the look should be turned to the attractiveness of the novel “Silva Rerum” to the reader.

B.Speičytė describes the book as a good popular novel but doubts its right to be called historical. As popular works perform the hedonistic, relaxing and therapeutic functions, they cannot shock spiritually. In the case of the historical novel, the popular text presents the panorama of the epoch rather than its cross-section: not depth but the plane, material attributes of the past time.

The panoramic picturing of the 17th century performs the explanatory/illustrative function in regard to the history science: the epoch is explained without posing any questions and searching for reasons why events happened in a certain way. The text is focused on the reader, and it is one more reason to attribute “Silva Rerum” to the genre of popular literature.

Thus, the author of the novel “Silva Rerum” created a popular text consciously using such elements of text construction that it would be as much attractive to the reader as possible. She also uses western advertisement strategies. One has to admit that the advertisement of the book of K.Sabaliauskaitė is not that tiresome how it is pictured by B.Speičytė.

The article of B.Speičytė is an attempt to look at the novel of K.Sabaliauskaitė critically. Good criticism is helpful to the author, even though he/she creates popular literature; it encourages to improve the quality of created texts so that they would be valuable. L.Jonušys' statement is right: “What do we miss in Lithuanian popular literature? Good plots with tension, lively narration involving the reader, stories that would not contain anything unneeded.” Such is the novel “Silva Rerum”, and this is why it enjoys the attention of both readers and critics.

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