Jaunā Gaita nr. 69, 1968

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JG 69

In our poetry section feelings are verbalized and emotional states intellectualized by Lalita Muižniece (Kalamazoo), Aina Zemdega (Toronto), Eduards Freimanis (Edmonton), and Ausma Jaunzeme (Stanford). Most are vers libre and appear to focus on the wretchedness of life. Similar is the main theme of our two prose pieces: a frustration in the midst of an unintelligible universe. Both are full of intensity, irony and ambiguity. Resonant images, fragmented characterizations, telling juxtapositions, disordered arrangement of the scenes, and haphazard glimpses into human states of consciousness and moods coalesce into a coherent whole in „Fish", by Oļģerts Rozītis (Australia). The same author in 1966 published a short story collection, Threads. The novella „The Stone", by Eglons Spēks (Sweden), centers on the question of human guilt, justice,and punishment.

Politics and literature dominated the adventurous life of Miķelis Valters (1874-1968), whose anti-tsarist activities led to persecution, imprisonment, exile and eventually escape to Western Europe where he earned his doctorate (Zurich). Perhaps the first Baltic intellectual to demand self-determination for all non-Russian peoples under the scepter of the tsar, he became one of his nation's founding fathers and later an intemationally recognized diplomat. He was not only a brilliant and courageous statesman who traveled comfortably over the whole range of Western ideas and culture, but also a humane, witty man whom we loved and whose generosity of spirit, open-mindedness and balanced judgement we respected. In JG 69 we are pleased to publish a fragment of Dr. Valters' memoirs and retrospective analysis of events in the 1890's when a new era began for Latvian culture. In memoriam articles have been contributed by two of our historians who were close to this extraordinary man, Dr. Edgars Andersons (San Jose) and Dr. Andrievs Ezergailis (Ithaca). The latter has also furnished us with a scholarly survey of „The Election of the Riga City Council in 1917". The evidence presented will surely force many to reexamine some of the traditionally held conceptions about the complicated political scene during the period (accounts of which are often deliberately distorted) immediately after the collapse of the Russian monarchy.

Professors Dzintars Freimanis (Rhode Island College) and Ojārs Krātiņš (university of Califomia at Berkeley) speak their mind on the time-honored method of realism from the era of Courbet, Champfleury and Flaubert to that of Robbe-Grillet and le noveau roman.

Gunars Saliņš' (New Jersey, USA) first volume of poetry in ten years, The Black Sun, is reviewed favorably by Gundars Pļavkalns (Australia). Dr. Paulis Birznieks (Georgetown) appraises Between Arrival and Departure, the first book of verse by Ivars Lindbergs (California). His poems - a mixture of hedonism, intellectuality, saturnine moods, yearning for purity and resignation - have often seen print in the pages of JG. Astrīde Ivaska (Oklahoma), a poet and contributing editor to this journal, discusses another poetry volume, Star-Spangled Réveille, by Atis Keniņš (1876-1961). In these pieces, ranging from juvenilia through hitherto uncollected later poems, he tried to affirm at all costs his passionate desire for life and joy, frequently despite the most adverse of situations. Even during the Central Asian exile in the 1940'-s Ķeniņš was able to tum his poet's eyes to the beautiful springtime in the steppes of Kazakhstan. Gunars Irbe (Sweden), also of the JG editorial board, outlines the main features of Ants Oras' Estonian Literature in Exile, a meritorious study which unfolds the compelling story of the still active Estonian writers scattered in Sweden, Canada, the United States, Australia, Germany, and Finland.

Some twenty years after Herder's epochal book Stimme der Völker in Liedern, which inspired the collection of „the poetry of the peasant" all over the continent, Gustav Bergmann translated some nine hundred Latvian folksongs into German for Robert Jamieson (a scholar of Scottish ancient history), who worked as a tutor in Riga from 1805-1808, and later turned over his three collections to Walter Scott, who rendered same of these songs into English. Only recently the original mantuscripts were discovered in Scotland's archives, and republished in Sweden between 1961 and 1967, accompanied by Dr.Haralds Biezais' (Uppsala) essays and scholarly notes. Magdalēne Rozentāle (Minnesota) lauds these learned compilations as well as Biezais' dedication and deep interest in the roots of Latvian culture. Dr. Jānis Peniķis (also of the University of Minnesota) regrets that Peter J. Babris, the author of Baltic Youth under Communism, should have hastened to publish a manuscript not ready for publication.

The three models of a monument to Rainis and Aspazija, poets and freedom fighters of the Latvian nation, are by J.R. Plāte (London), L.J. Briedītis (Uppsala), and V. Jansons (Philadelphia). As soon as Latvian refugees throughout the world collect the needed funds, a monument is to be erected in Castagnola, Switzerland, where both writers lived in self-exile from 1906 to 1920 to avoid tsarist persecution.

Juris Mazutis (Montreal) has some interesting thoughts about the film version of Len Deighton's „thriller", Billion Dollar Brain.

JG69 cover is by our art director I. Rumpēters.

Jaunā Gaita