Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas Collection
The collection of the writer Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas holds various documents: notes, correspondence and manuscripts. The documents illustrate very well the situation of intellectuals and writers in Soviet Lithuania. The government considered Mykolaitis-Putinas to be a famous Lithuanian writer, but on the other hand it tried to control his creative work. During the Late Stalinist period, the writer was often criticised by Party officials.
10308 Vilnius Antakalnio gatvė 6 , Lithuania
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Name of collection
- Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas Collection
Provenance and cultural activities
The collection holds documents (manuscripts, correspondence and notes) relating to the famous Lithuanian writer, poet and translator Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas (fund 59 has 1,242 documents). Mykolaitis-Putinas decided to stay in Soviet Lithuania in 1944. During the Soviet period, he was known not only as a poet and a novelist, but also as a professor at Vilnius University (until 1954). He taught many teachers, writers and critics, and passed on the traditions of independent Lithuanian literature to the new generation of scholars. (For a very short period of time, from 1945 to 1946, Mykolaitis-Putinas was director of the Institute of Lithuanian Literature.)
During the period of Late Stalinism, the writer was criticised by Party officials for his political passivity and his anti-Marxism. In 1946, Mykolaitis-Putinas was obliged to publicly repent for his stance. Only a couple of his writings were published during this period. The government stopped the publication of his famous novel Altorių šešėlyje (In the Shadow of the Altars), which had been written and published in interwar Lithuania. (The novel was published in Soviet Lithuania only in 1954.) Another novel by him Sukilėliai (Rebels), in which he described an uprising in 1863 against the Imperial Russian government, was published in 1957. Eventually, the collected writings of Mykolaitis-Putinas in ten volumes were published between 1959 and 1969.
The collection illustrates very well the situation of intellectuals and writers in Soviet Lithuania. The government considered Mykolaitis-Putinas to be a famous Lithuanian writer, but on the other hand it tried to control his creative work. During the the Late Stalinist period, the writer was often criticised by Party officials.
After Stalin’s death, during the period of de-Stalinisation, Mykolaitis-Putinas' situation improved. He was not a political dissident, but he always tried to preserve some autonomy and creative freedom. (His poem Vivos plango, Mortuos voco, written between 1943 and 1944, was popular among Lithuanian deportees.) Because of this, he became an example to the Lithuanian intelligentsia as a cultural activist.
Description of content
The collection contains correspondence with various people, writers and officials. Most of the documents in the collection are manuscripts of novels, poems and articles. The collection also contains manuscripts of translations of Russian and Polish poets. Probably the most interesting and valuable one is the manuscript of his translation of the epic poem 'Pan Tadeusz' by the Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855). The poem recounts the story of two feuding noble families, and a love story. One more important topic of the poem is the spontaneous revolt by local inhabitants against the occupying Russian forces. Mykolaitis-Putinas translated almost half the poem, the rest was translated by the poet Justinas Marcinkevičius, and it was published in Lithuania in 1974. The theme of popular uprisings in Lithuania was very interesting to Mykolaitis-Putinas. Earlier, in 1957 he published the novel Sukilėliai (Rebels), which described an uprising by Lithuanian peasants against the Imperial Russian regime in 1863. The manuscript section has 1,242 units of documents in the Mykolaitis-Putinas fund (no. 59).
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 1000-
Stakeholder(s) of the collection
Date of founding
Place of founding
Vilnius Antakalnio gatvė 6
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Mykolaitis-Putinas, Vincas. Raštai. Vol.1: Poezija [Works, Poetry]. Vilnius: Vaga, 1989.Mykolaitis-Putinas, Vincas. Raštai, Vol. 12, kn. 2: Literatūros istorija: [Works, The History of Literature]. Vilnius: Lietuvių literatūros ir tautosakos institutas, 2013
Author(s) of this page
- Sirutavičius, Vladas
Gasiliūnas, Virginijus , interview by Sirutavičius, Vladas , Grybkauskas, Saulius, August 17, 2016, March 28, 2017, November 03, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection