Jaunā Gaita nr. 115, 1977

JG 115

On the occasion of Jaunsudrabiņš's centennial, Pāvils Vasarinš undertakes a careful examination of the Latvian prose master's art, its appeal to posterity and claim to immortality. The hallmark of Jaunsudrabiņš is his simplicity and wholesomeness. Never devious, or impolite toward his reader, he cultivates a highly idiosyncratic humanistic realism, emphasizing the visual. If his art is not always authentically autobiographical, it is, however, a true witness of his time, addressing itself to the people, deeply rooted in the Latvian ethos.

Velta Toma gives a moving account of her visit to the sites of Jaunsudrabinš' childhood and adult days and the activities that mark his centennial in Latvia.

The Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš Fund reports that it has awarded two prizes. The charter of the fund stipulates that the awards be given to new prose writers of high artistic achievement whose publications do not exceed two books. Arturs Baumanis, writer, journalist, curator, educator, editor, received the prize for his eight-volume novel, Herrnhuters. The work is praised as a massive epic, finely attuned to the mentalities, vernacular and foreign, of the period, Laima Kalniņa, the other laureate, is characterized as an exquisite stylist, somewhat inspired by Surrealism, rich in nuances, concerned with esthetic values - qualities that point to a promising future.

Arturs Baumanis sketches his occasional contacts with Jānis Jaunsudrabiņš - a chance meeting in Rīga; professional associations in Germany - while Laima Kalniņa, who had heard the author only once reading his works, reminisces and meditates on Jaunsudrabiņš' dedication inscribed in her book, "Nobody can disappear into the ground alive."

The issue's literary section is devoted to prose and poetry. Laima Kalniņa, a winner of the Jaunsudrabiņš Prose Contest, is represented by a fragment, "The Day the Serpent Tempted Eve and the Night Eve Succumbed to Sin." The narrative is finely sculpted, couched in delicately balanced style, irradiating a special charm of excitement and earnestness.

In rhapsodic sequences, "I Love," Jaunsudrabiņš reminisces about his childhood days in Latvia.

An opulent array of poetry, featuring past masters and future laureates, displays a wide range of themes and forms: Prīmane's intense confessional verses; Bēne's emotional dirge and dithyramb; Dombrovska's expansive cosmic consciousness; Jaunsudrabinš's straightforward, unpretentious lament of exile; Dzelzītis's musical and geographic word games, not unlike the Grands Rhétoriquers; Mūks' cosmic disgust and Sniķere's eliptic un cryptic verses that suggest unfamiliar worlds.

Ilmārs Rumpēters in his article, "Vilnis Strazdiņš, a painter of peaceful paysages," introduces the personality and the art of a Latvian painter of accomplishment and promise.

Juris Mazutis finishes his engaging essay, "The Problems of Quebec in Historical Perspective," by reviewing contemporary events, starting with advent of the Lesage liberals on the political scene, the subsequent efflorescence of francophone letters and arts, terrorism, strikes, political uncertainty, disorientation, and the most recent stunning victory of the Parti Québécois. Mazutis interprets authoritatively the complex web of arguments that entangle federalism and autonomy and points up their relevance vis-ą-vis Latvian aspirations .

Aina Vāvere continues her investigation, "The Import of the Theater in the Social Life of Latvian Exiles," Approaching the theater from an evolutionary point of view, Vāvere surveys the thematic preoccupations and modes of production of the Latvian theater in exile, berating critical ineptitudes in evaluation of new works. The author seems to project a period of vitality for the Latvian theater, provided that the critics, the public, and the cultural organizations lend adequate support.

Pāvils Klāns continues his somewhat provocative analysis of Latvian youth vis-ą-vis political options, defending and explaining their leftist leanings as a reaction against general stagnation in exile. The author pleads for understanding, for a more rational recognition of political realities that render the inertial perpetuation of worn-out attitudes of conservatism inoperative.

Ezergailis concludes his interview with Modris Zeberiņš, an accomplished writer and a guru of provocative and unconventional thoughts which, larded with aphorisms and caustic observations, deal with many a present and past topic, always uncovering a hidden facet that stuns and fascinates.


Juris Silenieks

Jaunā Gaita