About history in literature 956

Mindaugas Grigaitis, Simona Siderevičiūtė, Urtė Sakalytė, Loreta Varaniūtė and Urtė Navalinskaitė
www.kamane.lt, 2013-06-17

In brief: More and more novels are published recently that bring forward one or another story of Lithuanian history. Lithuanians living abroad – Rūta Šepetys and her novel “Between Shades of Grey” or Antanas Šileika “Underground” – and Lithuanians living in Lithuania – Alvydas Šlepikas and his “My Name is Mary”, Sigitas Parulskis an his “Darkness and Partners” – try to reveal the story of a small man in the background of the great history. Literature considered to be popular does not lag behind: Kristina Sabaliauskaitė in her novels “Silva Rerum” or Andrius Tapinas in “The Wolf’s Hour” reveal historical secrets of Vilnius.

It is usually supposed that the historical experience of the Central and Eastern European countries is their attribute of authenticity in the epoch of postmodernism. As historical dramas remain in the past, literature becomes an important form of memory. Still, the question arises after reading the aforementioned novels whether the inclination to document history does not undermine the essence of literature itself, whether literature does not lose its special role of the language organisation.

Therefore, the participants of the discussion analyse the directions and tendencies of contemporary “historical prose”. Is the turn of literature to history necessary for the internally lazy society so that it does not forget lessons of history or is it only fashion, the aim of which is to buy the reader by manipulating with painful themes?

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