Jaunā Gaita nr. 72, 1969

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JG 72

JG 72 brings an article on postwar efforts toward a unified Europe. The author, Agnis Balodis (Stockholm) holds a doctorate in dentistry, but has also studied engineering, city planning, and economics. He traces the evolution of the idea of a European federation from Benelux to the Council of Europe and the European Economic Community. He regrets that the interest of the Latvian émigré press in these dcvelopments has slackened during the Fifties and Sixties after running high in the Forties. He finds that the Baltic States could regain and maintain their independence only within the framework of a politically and economically united Europe.

Three recent political happenings are taken up by Juris Mazutis and JG contributing editors Gunars Irbe and Dr. Rolfs Ekmanis. Mazutis (Montreal) refers to the World Congress of Latvian Youth in West Berlin, July 1968, which was interrupted and asked to leave. Mazutis compares a U.S. Army jeep sent to the scene to the Soviet tanks sent to Prague, and goes on to discuss the reasons for the widespread unrest of youth. Irbe's (Stockholm) subject is a book of photographs and commentaries by the Swedish photographer Sune Jonsson, Prag augusti 1968 (Stockholm: LTs Förlag, 1968), very likely the first of many on the Czech tragedy. Irbe praises the unbiased presentation which permits the viewer to share in and form his own views on the experiences recorded and sparsely commented by the author. It is a model for this kind of historic photo reporting. Dr. Rolfs Ekmanis (University of Arizona) has translated a radio talk given on July 23, 1968, by Jurij Krotkov, a Soviet writer who defected to the West in 1963. He is welcoming another recent Soviet defector, the literary critic Arkadij Belenkov, who spent 12 years in a Soviet prison camp.

Literary criticism is represented in JG 72 by Tālivaldis Ķiķauka (Hamilton, Onte) and Dzidra Kalniņa (Riga). Ķiķauka, no doubt the wittiest prose writer of the new generation in exile, jumps head over heels into a discussion (JG 69) between the writer Dzintars Freimanis and the critic Ojārs Krātiņš. The subject was realism, new and old. By contrasting it with romanticism and examining both from the (often conflicting) viewpoints of a dozen critics, Ķiķauka treats us to a lively review of the changing fortunes of the terms realistic, romantic, objective, and subjective. He arrives at the (admittedly inconclusive) conclusion that they should be abolished in literary and art criticism as unfit to cope with contemporary works.

In her thoughts on „The Novel and the Antinovel" (to be continued), Dzidra Kalniņa (Riga) concurs with the Soviet critic V.Shklovskij that there is no antinovel, only a new novel, which in turn is the self-abnegation of the old one. Kalniņa goes on to show that in art as in life there are neither vanishing forms nor pure repetition. She exemplifies this further through the use of Ulysses by James Joyce and Treibhaus (1953) by Wolfgang Koeppen. Kalniņa regrets that most Latvians (in Soviet Latvia) have but a vague theoretical idea of Joyce's novel. It does not seem apropos to her to mention the brilliant translation into Latvian by the poet and novelist Dzintars Sodums (Boston), published in Sweden by „Ziemeļblāzma" on a subscription basis in 1960. It is without doubt one of the lasting achievements of Latvian letters in exile and should be made available at home. It preceded, by the way, the Finnish translation by 4 years.

Our prose section comprises short selections by writers from 3 generations- Jānis Klīdzējs (b. 1914), Ilze Šķipsna (b. 1928), and Margita Gūtmane. There is a deeper gap between the style of Klīdzējs and Šķipsna than that between the latter and Gūtmane. JG is proud of its talented newcomers like Gūtmane in prose (see also her poetry in JG 71), and Paulis Birznieks (b. 1932) in poetry. Dr. Birznieks (Georgetown University) has contributed criticism of poetry to JG. Other poets represented are Irma Bērziņa, Baiba Bičole, Valdis Krāslavietis, Valentīns Pelēcis, and Velta Toma.

The most important non-fictional work reviewed in JG 72 is „An Economic History of Latvia" by Dr. Arnolds Aizsilnieks (Latvijas saimniecības vēsture 1914-1945, Stockholm: Daugava, 1968), The historian Dr. Andrievs Ezergailis (Ithaca College) considers the series of works on the history of Latvia published by „Daugava" as one of the most important events of the Latvian cultural scene during the past decades. Dr. Aizsilnieks (Stockholm) is able to work in depth within the limits he sets himself. His view of the economic policies of independent Latvia, especially under the Ulmanis régime, is critical and will presumably elicit controversy.

Volume VIII of the yearbook Archīvs (edited by Dr. Edgars Dunsdorfs and published by the Australian Latvian Association: Melbourne, 1968) is devoted to Latvian problems. The reviewer, Gunars Irbe concentrates on the second section, „Language and Literature", finding enlightening an article by Dr. Velta Rūķe-Draviņa (University of Lund) on Latvian in the light of quantitative linguistics.

Dr. T.G. Fennell (The Flinders University of South Australia) considers the difficulties in learning Latvian as a foreign language (he is himself one of the relatively few foreigners to have mastered it, and at present is preparing a Latvian Grammar for English-speaking students).

Dr. Rolfs Ekmanis scrutinizes Soviet linguistic policies in relation to Latvian linguists. Among several works of fiction under review is a remarkable first novel by the most promising Soviet Latvian prose writer Alberts Bels (b. 1938). Its title is „The Investigator" (Izmeklētājs, Riga 1967) and it is reviewed by Dr. Ojārs Krātiņš (Berkeley, Calif.).

JG 72 features 3 sculptural works by Augusts Arnolds Kopmanis (Toronto). Cover design and illustrations by Jānis Gorsvāns (Anaheim, Calif.).

Jaunā Gaita