Balys Sruoga Collection
The Balys Sruoga collection holds various documents, including notes, manuscripts and correspondence with other Lithuanian writers. The documents illustrate well the situation of intellectuals and writers in Soviet Lithuania under Stalin. The manuscript of Sruoga’s novel Dievų miškas (The Forest of the Gods), written in 1945, is especially valuable. The manuscript was very severely criticised by the authorities and heavily censored. It was only published in Soviet Lithuania in 1957.
10308 Vilnius Antakalnio gatvė 6 , Lithuania
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Name of collection
Balys Sruoga Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
The collection holds documents (manuscripts, correspondence, notes) by the famous Lithuanian writer, critic, poet and playwright Balys Sruoga (1897–1947). The writer was harshly criticised by the Party secretary for ideology Kazys Preikšas (1903–1961) in 1946 at the Congress of Soviet Lithuanian writers. Sruoga’s novel The Forest of the Gods, based on his own experiences as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, was called not only useless but even dangerous to the Soviet regime. The author was accused of idealising bourgeois Lithuania, and its publication was banned. The documents in the collection illustrate the dramatic fate of Lithuanian intellectuals and writers during the late Stalinist period: Sruoga was severely criticised for his creativity and inventiveness, and for his independent stance. This was unacceptable to the regime.
The Institute of Lithuanian Language and Literature (which in 1990 was split into two institutes, one being the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore) systematically started to collect documents relating to Balys Sruoga and his work in 1959. The accumulation of documents was initiated by the head of the Manuscript Division of the institute Marija Grigaitytė. In 1973, Algis Samulionis (1936–1994), who researched Sruoga’s life and work, presented various documents and material relating to the writer to the Manuscript Division of the institute. The institute received more material from Samulionis (Sruoga’s correspondence with his wife Vanda) in 1989. So now the manuscript section has 1,605 documents in the Balys Sruoga fund (No 53).
Description of content
The collection contains correspondence with other writers, and with his wife Vanda. (Two of these letters were written from Stutthof concentration camp, where Sruoga was imprisoned by the Nazis from 1943 to 1945.) Most of the documents in the collection are manuscripts of poems, dramas and articles. The most valuable item in the collection is the manuscript of Sruoga’s novel The Forest of the Gods. The manuscript has remarks made by the censor and the writer’s answers, objections and refutations.
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
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Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Sruoga, B. (1996). Forest of the gods: Memoirs. Vilnius: "Vaga".
Markevičienė, N. (2014). Balio Sruogos kūrinio "Dievų miškas" rašymo ir redagavimo istorija: Monografija. Vilnius: Lietuvių Literatūros ir Tautosakos Institutas
Bankauskaitė-Sereikienė, G. (2007). Balys Sruoga - tarp tradicijos ir modernumo [Balys Sruoga – between tradition and modernity]. Vilnius: Vilniaus universiteto leidykla.
Gasiliūnas, Virginijus , interview by Sirutavičius, Vladas , Grybkauskas, Saulius, August 17, 2016, March 28, 2017, November 03, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection