Mindaugas Grigaitis, 2007 06 11

Rimantas Marčėnas

In brief: Writing a historical novel is not the easiest task today. A writer who has chosen a historical theme may hardly limit himself/herself with a traditional historical novel today. The time demands to renew the traditional historical thinking models by contemporary language of literature, to adjust it to the changed identity, which is a work demanding great talent and efforts. There are not so many historical novels published recently: “Search for Sphinx of Moscow’ by Alfonsas Eidintas, “Mindaugas – Royal Blood” by Jonas Užurka, “Blinded by the Glow of the Crown” by Rimantas Marčėnas.


The motives are different – to educate the masses (A.Eidintas), to strengthen the national identity (R.Marčėnas), to tell history persuasively and in a picturesque manner (J.Užurka). The aim of Rimantas Marčėnas is to tell the story about well-known events anew and to strengthen the national identity in the novel “Blinded by the Glow of the Crown”. However, it is rather hard for R. Marčėnas to create a persuasive whole from historical plots and facts in the book. The reader is often blinded by the unpleasant iridescence of internal cacophony of the story in “Blinded by the Glow of the Crown”.


The plot of the novel is based on the well-known story of Mindaugas seeking for power. After the death of his brother Dausprungas, Mindaugas is striving to unite all Lithuanian duchies and become the king of the united state. The historical context is replenished by artistic characters – the illegitimate son of Dausprungas and his servant Tatar woman Aza, Jaugindas, stories of personal lives of historical figures are created.


Even though the novel is about the times of Mindaugas seeking for the crown, much attention is allocated to Jaugindas and Tautvilas, the legitimate son of Dausprungas. Other persons are characterised less and the novel may be described as the dispute between Jaugindas and Tautvilas regarding values and attitudes. For revealing the dispute, the author chooses a rather attractive form. R.Marčėnas refuses the traditional story-telling by the teller and reveals the reality from the perspective of each character. The change of story-telling points creates a feeling of free and polyphonic speaking.


However, even though the polyphony is harmonious, loud dissonances may be heard reaching for deeper layers of the content. Characters are created according to patterns. Religious and mythological motives often seem as an artificially created background of the epoch. The story stars shimmering uncannily: literature stamps, abundance of mythological and historical details turn the story into an intangible mirage. Much sentimentality is felt in the plots of lovers – their relations are pictured similarly to soup operas.


In conclusion, attempting to revive the slightly forgotten historical plots in the novel “Blinded by the Glow of the Crown”, R.Marčėnas does not avoid the stereotyped and patterned manner of speaking. The text often tires the reader by heard thoughts, single-sided characters and too sweet love moans. Thus, the author’s promise to tell important events of our history anew has not been implemented fully.

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