Jaunā Gaita nr. 101, 1974

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JG 101

A large part of this issue is a continuation of JG 100; included are the concluding sections of numerous articles on literary scholarship, art, music, philosophy, and politics. Valda Melngaile analyzes experimentation with imagery, form, and sound in the work of several modern poets such as Velta Sniķere, Astrīde Ivaska, Voldemārs Avens, and Andrejs Irbe, while Terēze Lazdiņa tabulates the frequency of alliteration and suggests reasons for the choice of particular sounds in the poems of Pēteris Aigars, Zenta Liepa, Voldemārs Avens, Andrejs Irbe, Juris Mazutis, Andrejs Eglītis, and Linards Tauns. Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga explores some of the basic premises of national identity and Haralds Biezais discusses the phenomenology of human freedom. Andris Vītoliņš concludes his witty and irreverent dissection of creative processes in musical composition and adaptation, Kārlis Neilis derides art critics, and 12 prominent representatives from such fields as literature, journalism, linguistics, theatre, history, and others speculate about possible new trends in their specialties during coming decades.

Two articles published in JG 100 have already aroused some criticism and debate. Bruno Kalniņš (see interview in JG 86), a social democrat and controversial political figure for more than fifty years, concludes his highly personal memoir of Ulmanis' 1934 coup. In connection with the forty year anniversary of the coup, JG plans to publish more evaluations of the Ulmanis era by other, perhaps more neutral and less personally involved, observers and historians. Juris Mazutis replies to Mārtiņš Būmanis' critique of the petit bourgeois nature of Latvian society in exile by pointing out the rigid and often misguided nature of Būmanis' Marxist analysis of history.

For the sixth consecutive year, Dr. Kārlis Ābele surveys the accomplishments in Latvian art, music, literature, and theatre in Northern America, Western Europe, and Australia. Activity in all areas has been impressive, and Dr. Ābele finds especially encouraging the large number of new prose works published during 1973. He also briefly mentions some of the disagreements and debates about matters both aesthetic and political among various intellectuals and artists. One of these points of disagreement is amplified in Osvalds Liepa's review of the 1973 Latvian theatre festival in Toronto. Liepa finds it ironic that at a festival whose stated purpose is to further Latvian theatre and perform new Latvian plays, the prizes for best production and best technical achievement went - deservedly - to Moliere's Tartuffe and Jan de Hartog's The Fourposter, while the one new Latvian play was the worst performed. Unfortunately, just how "Latvian theatre" should be defined - merely as theatre performed in the Latvian language, or as theatre that represents Latvian plays - has never been agreed upon. Photographs of all the participating ensembles are included.

The authors represented in the literature section are already well known to readers of JG. Jānis Krēsliņš puts his old symbol, the pelican, in a new context in a poem about George Henry Loskiel, author of countless 18th century Latvian church hymns and missionary to the Indians in Pennsylvania; Gunars Saliņš contributes an ironic monologue by a young woman recently returned from a visit to Latvia; and the mood of Juris Kronbergs' "While I Loved You" is jaundiced and misogynistic. Among the prose selections, Ilze Šķipsna's "The Victim" is full of the psychological subtleties and insights one has come to expect from the author; her presentation of the tenuous line between reality, memory, and nightmare is absolutely convincing and striking in detail. The conclusion is a little disappointing, however. Modris Zeberiņš in "A Fragment" combines a telescopic, abrupt style with subject matter seemingly too sentimental and old fashioned to be found in a modern story - country summer, first love, etc. The apparent contradiction between plot and technique, however, makes the narrative quite effective. A similar abruptness, constant shifts of reference, interjections, and a mood of bravado characterize Zeberiņš' "Selfportrait".

The cover by Maira Dreimane-Reinberga was awarded second place in a competition sponsored by JG on the occasion of its hundredth anniversary issue. Reproductions of works by two other outstanding Latvian painters are included also. Raimonds Staprāns (frontispiece; see also his article on Ivars Hiršs in JG 99) is a widely exhibited and admired artist from San Francisco, while Laimonis Eglītis (2 reproductions) received the first prize for painting awarded by the Latvian Cultural Fund in 1973. A. Frankenstein: recently in the San Francisco Chronicle said:

Raimonds Staprāns has thinned out the impasto in his recent paintings now showing at Maxwell's and this is much to the advantage of his work, both coloristically and in matters of form. In the new pictures he handles color as Arthur Rubinstein handles scales on the piano, with perfect technical mastery but with a richness of overtone that is, uniquely his. The big floating shapes of his harbor scenes and the abstract forms of his still lifes brilliantly composed and his pictures lead a glowing changing life of their own in response to varied lights. Erudition and inspiration come together most successfully here. Staprāns has made a synthesis for which many strive - but never attain.


I. Š.-L .

Jaunā Gaita