Vol. 14 (2020): XIV International Symposium Contemporary Issues of Literary Studies : The Silk Road Countries` Folklore
Folklore and Literary Text

Poetic Rhetoric of Justinas Marcinkevičius as an Expression of Archetypal Musicality

Rūta Brūzgienė
Mykolas Romeris University

Published 2020-10-20


Poet Justinas Marcinkevičius (1930–2011) is one of the most popular writers in the second half of the 20th century in Lithuania and, was even often considered as the “poet of the Nation” in the Soviet era. The most important works of J. Marcinkevičius are a drama trilogy “Mindaugas”, 1968, “Katedra” [The Cathedral], (1968 -1977); poems “Kraujas ir pelenai” [Blood and Ashes], 1960, “Donelaitis”, 1964, “Pažinimo medis” [Tree of Knowledge], 1978; etc., ballads, collections of poems “Liepsnojantis krūmas” [The Burning Bush], 1968, “Gyvenimo švelnus prisiglaudimas“ [The Gentle Cuddle of Life], 1978, “Būk ir palaimink” [Be and Bless], 1980, “Vienintelė žemė” [The Only Earth], 1980, etc. The principal themes in
the poet’s works are dedicated to Lithuania, its history and present, nature, culture, and existential human problems like happiness, suffering, loyalty, duty, honesty. Marcinkevičius’ early poetic work expressed an obvious folklorisation. The inner musicality of the poems inspired composers’ works: over 200 songs were created for the poet’s lyrics. This article will analyse the features of the rhetorical influence of Marcinkevičius’ poetry related to Lithuanian archetypal images and the deep musicality of the “singing nation of poets”. The article is based on Viktorija Daujotytė, Paul Friedrich, Juozas Girdzijauskas, Vladimir Karbusický, Regina Koženiauskienė, Vytautas Kubilius, Rima Malickaitė, Donata Mitaitė, Leonardas Sauka, Werner Wolf, and others works, and a comparative methodology is used. The following conclusions were reached:

1. Justinas Marcinkevičius is one of the most inspirational and influential poets present in the process of forming Lithuanina national consciousness, compared to the great heralds of freedom of the 19th century Antanas Baranauskas, Maironis, 20th c. Bernardas Brazdžionis. Just Marcinkevičius’ dramatic work and poetry had a great influence to the silent resistance of the nation during the Soviet occupation in the 80s and 90s. The roots of the poet’s popularity lie in his classical value orientation, close to the concept of the Ancient Orator, but related to Christian culture, as well as to traditional, Lithuanian-specific agrarian cultural ethics, the essential expression of which is kindness, love for a human being and nature.

2. The most important stylistic tendencies emerged in Just. Marcinkevičius’ work of the eighties and nineties. They express his sublime value orientation, based on the Christian and traditional Lithuanian worldview, manifesting through simplicity, sacralization of everyday environmental objects, exaltation of mother (goddess) and land typical of old indoeuropean culture, as well as folklore stylistics (rich diminutives, lexicon, archaic contract structures, references to plants, etc.). The form of the poems is mostly built on the principle of variation, the most popular quartet for Lithuanian folk songs, rondo elements.

3. Comparing Sakartvel folklore with Lithuanian, the differences in mentalities become quite obvious. The culture of the sacraments is characterized by a sharp domestic humor and a vertical blend of songs of extremely high spirituality. Lithuanian folklore is characterized by a horizontal axis, filled with natural life. It is characterized by a very close and warm relationship with fauna and flora, where a human being, plants, small creatures of nature are perceived as one family of equal members. However, the archetypal existential vertical axis of both Sakartvels and Lithuanians is the sanctity of freedom, which deeply unites the spiritual essence of both nations.