Volume 11, No.1 - Spring 1965
Editor of this issue: Thomas Remeikis
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1965 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


Purdue University

ANATOLE C. MATULIS is Associate Professor of Modem Languages at the Fort Wayne Campus of Purdue University and is in charge of Modern Languages Program. He holds a Ph. D. degree in Germanic Languages and Literature from the Michigan State University. Dr. Matulis is the author of a forthcoming study on Lithuanian Culture in Modem German Prose Literature, published by Bohlaus Nachf. Verlag in Vienna.

There seems to be sufficient evidence to suggest, that the seed of German interest in the Lithuanian nation obtained its initial nourishment from the dynamic expansion of Luther-anism. Early in the sixteenth century Duke Albrecht of East Prussia, ensuing Martin Luther's advice concerning the achievement of universality for his new church, emphasized that the missionary work in East Prussia needed to be administered not solely in German but also in the Lithuanian tongue. In subsequent years, the University of Kónigsberg began to award Lithuanian nationals appropriate stipends in order to encourage learning among the heterogeneous population of East Prussia and simultaneously to create an intellectual nucleus for the propagation of the Lutheran faith. The direct outcome of this practice was the first Lithuanian book in print.1 It was composed by Martinus Masvidius (ca. 1520-1563) and published in the year 1547 under the auspices of Duke Albrecht.

More specialized attention to the Lithuanian nation and its cultural profile was entertained by Sigismund Schwabe in his Geistliche Walljahrt der Pilgerschaft sum heiligen Grabe.2 The work included information regarding the Balto-Lithuanian burial customs and a vivid description of its practices. In the seventeenth century (ca. 1646) German scholar and linguist Johann Bellien favored the Lithuanian language by providing a Lithuanian translation of a succint poem, which he dedicated to Philipp von Zesen, the noted patron of the "Teutschgesinnte Genossenschaft." Reaching the latter part of the seventeenth century, German literary men, while still attracted to one particular aspect of the Lithuanian culture — the customs — uncovered another spectrum of the Lithuanian national essence, which rested in its folk songs and in other similar forms of folk creativity. Johann Arnhold von Brand in his work entiteled Reysen durch die Marck Brandenburg, Preussen, Churland, Liefland ... (1673) displayed a record of observations accumulated in the Baltic area and supplemented with two Lithuanian folk songs, an entreaty to the pagan god Perkūnas, and numerous Lithuanian proverbial expressions. Concentration upon the Lithuanian customs continued to be projected by M. M. Praetorius in "Nachricht von der Littauer Arth, Natur und Leben" (ca. 1680) ,3 The content of his work, notwithstanding the fact that it impressed a crude and negative picture of the Lithuanians, possesses merit in its minute portrayal of the populace and their way of life. From it one may reconstruct and interpret a picture of the age, which has passed so leisurely through the Lithuanian regions. In the next decade, Theodor Lepner proffered to the German readers his memorable Der Preu[ssi]sche Littauer (ca. 1690). Aside from the usual preoccupation with the customs, the author inserted illustrations of the Lithuanian national costumes, agricultural implements, and musical folk instruments. The analysis of the Lithuanian folk musical activities,4 which betrays in instances the critical tone reminiscent to that of M. M, Praetorius, is void of necessary objectivity and proper understanding.5 The fact that he appended literary-historical annotations to his work indicated that the German interest in the Lithuanian nation and its culture progressed not only in the degree of intensity but also in the quality of scholarly publications.

The year 1723 was marked by the establishment of the Lithuanian Seminar at the University of Kónigsberg, which now assumed a convincing role in bringing the Lithuanian national culture upon the German literary stage.6 A prominent contribution to this effect was made by Philipp Ruhig. a Königsberg educated clergyman, with the publication of the Betrachtung der Littauischen Sprache (1745) and Littauisch-Deutsches und Deutsch-Littauisches Lexikon (1747). The former treatise comprised a limited dictionary; the latter displayed Paul Friedrich Ruhig's attempt to formulate the Lithuanian grammar under the title "Anfangsgriinde einer Littauischen Grammatik." Significantly for the future development, the principal publications of Philipp Ruhig mirrored three Lithuanian folk songs (Dainos)7: '"Eine Tochter hat ihren Geliebten begleit," "Auf eine, die nicht fein spinnen kann" and "Abschied einer heyrathenderi Tochter." The presentation of the texts of these folk songs was ventured in order to show the linguistic phenomenon of the Lithuanian language 8 and evoked an apology from the author, because of such an audacious enclosure.

Philipp Ruhig's presentation of the three Lithuanian folk songs did not escape Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's (1729-1781) attention. In his "Dreiunddreisigster Litteraturbrief," dated the 19th of April, 1759, 9 he exhibited a feeling of enthusiasm and admiration for these Lithuanian folk songs. He viewed them as being an outstanding product of genuine, noble and pure emotions. Their designation as having "eine reizende Einfalt" revealed Lessing's plenary approval of their form and thought, which in a simplified manner could have satisfied the classical requirements of "edle Einfalt und stille Grosse."

The praise by such a significant literary personality as Lessing and the dawn of the "Sturm und Drang" movement provided Lithuanian cultural element — the folk song — with a favorable atmosphere for a prosperous future. The "Volksliedbewegung" in England, initiated by James Macpherson with the Fragments of Ancient Poetry, and supported by Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, influenced the literary attitudes of Johann Georg Hamann, Johann Gottfried Herder and consequently of the youthful Goethe to such an extent that the rational "Chanson" or "Chansonette" was compelled to recognize the superiority of the naive "Volkslied." Under these propitious literary conditions, the international folk songs in general and the Lithuanian folk song in particular were prepared to assume a respectable position in German literature.

Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788), while encountering the linguistic treasures possessed by the Lithuanian language, also took notice of the Lithuanian national culture. In his Kreuzzüge des Phililogen (1762), one encounters the subsequent comment: "Meine Bewunderung — von der Ursache eines durchgängigen Sylbenmasses in dem griechischen Dichterist bey einer Reise durch Curland und Liefland gemässigt worden. Es giebt in angeführten Gegenden gewisse Striche wo man das lettische order undeutsche Volk bey aller ihrer Arbeit singen hört, aber nichts als eine Cadenz und von wenig Tönen, die mit einem Metro viel Ähnlichkeit hat."10 Disregarding the fact that Hamann regarded his observation as "dieser kleiner Umstand," or even the inaccurate ethnographic designations of "das lettische order undeutsche Volk," it does not obscure the evidence of the continuous growth of interest in the distinctive life of the Baltic nations of which Lithuania occupies an important place.

A more decisive step for the popularization of the Lithuanian national-cultural profile was taken by Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), who deserves to be regarded as "Der Vater und Entdecker der Völker des Ostens." 11 In his monumental collection, Stimmen der Völker in Liedern,12 he embraced nine Lithuanian folk songs: "Brautlied," "Der Morgen-spaziergang," "Die krankė Braut," "Abschiedslied eines Mád-chens," "Der versunkene Brautring," "Lied des Mádchens um ihren Garten," "Lied des jungen Reuters," "Der unglückliche Weidenbaum," and "Die erste Bekanntschaft". The popular "Brautlied," however, which previously was discovered by Ruhig and used by Lessing, now charmed Herder with its melancholic beauty to such a degree that he reproduced it not only in his main text of Stimmen der Völker in Liedern but, with a few unimportant changes, in the "Anhang" (to the Stimmen . . .) and in the "Briefwechsel uber Ossian und die Lieder alter Volker". In his essay "Von ^hnlichkeit der mittlern englischen und deutschen Dichtung," Herder admired the beauty of the Lithuanian folksong as being equal to the universal and timeless spirit of antiquity: "Wenn nur Frau Sappho und ein littauisches Mádchen die Liebe auf gleiche Art singen, wahrlich so miissen die Regeln ihres Gesanges wahr sein, sie sind Nátur der Liebe und reichen bis ans Ende der Erde."13

In the year 1770 the city of Strassburg was the historical meeting place of the ailing Herder and the young, promising poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It was here that Goethe made his acquaintance not only with the classical world of antiquity, but also with the North-Eastern European areas. Behind the intellectually imposing figure of Herder rose the contours of the majestic city of Konigsberg, which slowly dissolved in the "primitive" and the magic land of the Lithuanian people. Thus the capital of Alsace, the city on the banks of the river Pregel, and Weimar formed a chain of development, which disclosed the presence of the Lithuanian cultural element, although not of commanding significance, but still deserving an appropriate literary recognition.

Wilhelm Scherer, in his Geschichte der Deutschen Literatur (Berlin, n.d.) discussing the Herder — Goethe literary relationship, recognized the paramount influence of Herder and, in turn, of the Lithuanian cultural fragment — the folk song, as reflected in the Strassburg period of Goethe's lyrical activity. Referring to the Sesenheimer cycle of poems, especially to "Willkommen und Abschied," Scherer commented:

... welcher Aufbruch zur Geliebten, welcher Empfang und welcher Abschied! In vier Strophen eine Reihe von Szenen, nicht Zustände, sondern Handlungen; in wenig Worten die rascheste Aktion; das Ganze durchweht vom heissen Atem der Leidenschaft. .. Als Reiter flog er zur Geliebten durch Nacht und Wald, wie die litauischen Gesänge in Herders 'Volksliedern' gerne beginnen . . . Goethe hatte gelernt, die Natur wie ein Wilder anzuschauen. Er hatte Herders Forderung erfüllt und dadurch einen unermesslichen Fortschritt gemacht.14

This assertion may be applied not only to the beginning stanzas, however characteristic of the Lithuanian "Volkslieder,"15 but also to the entire imagery in this poem which radiates the themes present in the Lithuanian folk songs. A Lithuanian well remembers such folk songs as "Subatos vakarėlį, balnojau juodbėrėlį," "Tarne, tarneli, žabok žirgelį," or in Herder's collection appearing: "Durchs Birkenwaldchen. durch Fichten Wáldchen" and "Tief in der Nacht, im Dunkel," which display a string of moods similar to that of Goethe's lyrical creation "Willkommen und Abschied." In addition to the cycle of lyrical poetry, a single and popular Lithuanian song "Ich hab's gesagt schon meiner Mutter," with minor orthographic changes, was reintroduced by Goethe in his "Singspiel" Die Fischerin.16

The honor which Lessing, Herder, and Goethe bestowed upon the Lithuanian national culture and particulary upon its folk songs became unexpectedly an award in the form of literary immortality; and the classical simplicity of the Lithuanian "Volkslieder" continued to dominate the sentimental disposition of the German writers.

Ludwig J. Rhesa (1776-1840), a Professor of Theology, Director of the Lithuanian Seminar in Konigsberg and the author of Prutena I, II (1809, 1829), was the first scholar and poet to contribute to German literature an ample collection of Lithuanian folk songs, Dainos oder Littauische Volkslieder (Konigsberg, 1825).17 It was composed of eighty-five songs, accompanied by the original Lithuanian texts; an additional one hundred songs could not be given proper space in the collection and thus remained unprinted.18

The age of Romanticism in Germany received the Lithuanian folk song very auspiciously. The tradition, initiated by Herder with his Stimmen der Volker and the impetration for the literary recognition of the folk literature with "Briefwechsel fiber Ossian und die Lieder alter Volker," commenced to experience a new vitality. The publications of Des Knaben Wunderhom (1804-5), a momentous collection of German folk songs, by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, as well as Johann Joseph von Górres' Altdeutsche Volks und Meisterlieder (1817), indicated the growing emphasis upon the literary phenomenon conceived in "dem Geist des Volkes." The tone of "Volkslieder" continued to attain expression in the lyricism of Clemens Brentano (1778-1842), Ludwig Uh-land (1787-1862) and Joseph von Eichendorff (1788-1857).

It was — ironically — in Berlin, the temple of rationalism, that the romantic "Berliner Dichterkreis" and especially Adalbert von Chamisso (1781-1838) provided the Lithuanian folk song with the necessary stimulus for its further existence. Chamisso's poems, in their essence, betray the author's spiritual qualities which are also predominant in the Lithuanian folk character. His absorption with simple joys or sorrows, depicted with gracefulness, gentleness, and sentimental naivete, explain his receptiveness to the adaption of the Lithuanian folk song as the basis for his lyrical creations. The Lithuanian folk song "Der Jüngling reitet in die Schlacht" reappears as a "Nachdichtung" in Chamisso's "Der Sohn der Witwe" (1826),    the song "Der Vater ging auf die Jagd in den Wald" finds its amusing portraiture in Chamisso's "Familienfest" (1827). The songs-poems "Die Waise" (1828) and "Treue Liebe" (1826) were properly and respectfully indentified by Chamisso as being "Litauisch."19

Franz Freiherr von Gaudy (1800-1840), a contemporary and colleague of Chamisso (Berangers Lieder), mainly because of his translations from the Polish language, manifested an early interest in the literatures of the Eastern Europe. Through friendship with Chamisso, he turned his attention to Lithuanian folk ballad which he later reproduced in the German language as "Die Pestjungfrau" and "Die drei Budrios Söhne." The latter ballad, however, indicated already a recognizable influence of the Polish national element.

Other less known poets such as Georg Friedrich Daumer (1800-1875), J. F. Soldat and Felix Dahm (1834-1912), were also attracted to the Lithuanian cultural silhouette. Daumer's poems in his Liederbliiten des Hajis (Hamburg, 1846), Sol-dat's "Sareka" and "Rombinus"; Felix Dahn's poem "Die Litauer in Frankreich" are pregnant with the Lithuanian folk spirit, be it in the embodiment of a folk song or a popular narrative. 

German interest in Lithuanian national-cultural character traits during the latter part of the nineteenth century experienced growth in intensity and poignancy. J. Schultz wrote Einige Bemerkitngen uber die Nationalitat der Littauer in Preussen (1833), with an "Anhang, enthaltend einige Dainos." This manuscript in later years served as basis for A. Kuntze's Bilder aus dem Preussischen Littauen (1884), but the author failed to acknowledge the source. In the year 1844 Wilhelm Jordan (1819-1904), a writer who established his literary reputation through his recreation of the "Nibelungensage," published in Berlin the corpus of Litauische Volkslieder und Sagen. Theodor Lepner continued his second edition of Der Preussische Litaner (Danzig, 1848), which was followed by the collections of Georg H. F. Nesselmann's Litauische Volkslieder (Berlin, 1853) and August Schleicher's Litauische Marchen, Sprichworte, Ratsel und Lieder (Weimar, 1857). In the year 1882, two significant treatises in the area of Lithuanian folklore appeared: Adalbert Bezzenberger's Litauische Forschungen and August Leskien's — Karl Brugmann's "Sammlung" of Litauische Volkslieder und Marchen aus dem preussischen und russischen Litauen. During the latter part of 1884 A. Lobell, in Beilage sum Programm der Grossherz-Realschule zu Oppenheim, published his notable observations ''uber litauische Volkspoesie." The succeeding years witnessed Christian Bartsch's editions of Dainų Balsai (Heidelberg, 1886-89), I, II which contained 392 Lithuanian-Germanized songs, the greater part of which was accompanied by their proper musical score, thus making memorable contribution to the Lithuanian national literature. J. Sauerwein, a great admirer and supporter of the Lithuanian people, with his über litauisches Volkstum ... (1890 ca.) ; Ludwig Nast's presentation of his notable Die Volkslieder der Litauer (Dainos) (Tilsit. 1893); the periodical publications of the "Litauische Literarische Gesellschaft" (1879-1912), which dealt very intensively with the cultural life of Lithuania, are regarded even today by the Lithuanian literary scholars and folklorists with great esteem.

During the twentieth century the German literary community continued to pay its tribute to the Lithuanian nation. It took the forms of collections of Lithuanian folk songs, its "Nachdichtungen" 20 or became crystalized in literary publications pertaining to the cultural and philological aspects of the Lithuanian national character.

The notable beginning was made by Franz Tetzner's remarkable study Die Slawen in Deutschland (Beitrage zur Volkskunde — 1902). The title might appear misleading because it also encloses a section dedicated to the Lithuanian people and their national-cultural pattern of life. This work was followed by the publication of Karl Plentzaťs Der Liederschrein (Leipzig, 1918) including, among the collection of over one hundred Germanic "Volkslieder," a segment of twenty-one Lithuanian folk songs. An exclusively Lithuanian Liederschrein (Kaunas, 1939) containing German texts and German imitations, was dedicated to the Lithuanian nation by Victor Jungfer. In more recent years a modern version of Stimmen der Völker appeared carrying the title of Tausendmund (Eben-hausen bei Múnchen, 1954), edited by Georg von der Vring and Burghart Wachinger. It is, since the monumental collection of Herder, an outstanding achievement in "Lieder Sam-mlung," which includes a generous number of the folkloristic treasures of the nations, located in the Eastern and Western European cultural spheres. Among the corpus of international folk songs, five Lithuanian "Volkslieder - Dainos" occupy a noteworthy position.

In the progression of time the German writers were no longer content with solely gathering the Lithuanian "Volkslieder," but they began to observe its structure, content and its literary value. This led them to the realization that there existed an inexhaustible and attractive field of Lithuanian national literature. The literary content of the Lithuanian folk song received adequate attention from Reinder von der Meulen 21 and Victor Jungfer.22 Alfred Brust turned his interest to Lithuanian literature's position in regard to the age of expressionism.23 The authors W. W. Ulmenried - Naujeck moved away from the attitudes of generalizations and engaged in a more intensive literary analysis of Lithuanian literature.24 The results of this perceptive literary penetration proved to be more than what they expected to discover in such a simple, remote nordic land. The uniqueness of the Lithuanian national culture, which reflected so well in its literature, now became a recognized and well established part of printed actuality.

The influence of Lithuania and the Lithuanian cultural elements continued to be detectable in the pages of German lyrical writings of the twentieth century. A.K.T. Tielo's (pseud, of Curt A. T. Mickoleit) verses in Thanatos (Stuttgart, 1905), Klange aus Litauen (Munchen, 1907) and Aus der Jugendzeit (Berlin, 1911) manifest the Lithuanian national spirit. Tielo's poems such as "Litauen," "Tilsit," "Mein Memelstrom," "Die Heimkehr" and "Am Rombin" endure as a perpetual monument to remind the reader of the poet's affection for his beloved land resting serenely upon the silvery sands of the Baltic Sea.

Regrettably it was the First World War which served as a cardinal factor in bringing the German writers, at the moment in uniform, nearer to Lithuania, consequently causing a renaissance of the Lithuanian national culture, present in its folk songs, among the German speaking people. Oskar Wohrle published the German translations of the Lithuanian "Volkslieder" in Das Litauen-Buch (1918); and in the year 1917 Richard Dehmel (1863-1920) exhibited his "Nachdichtungen" of the Lithuanian folk songs in Die neue Rundschau.25 The attention also falls upon Herbert Eulenberg and Hermann Struck who collaborated in their commentaries on the "litauische Volkslieder" in Skizzen aus Litauen, WeissrussIand und Kurland (Berlin, 1916).

The Lithuanian folk fairy-tales and "Volksgeschichten" attained some favor during the twentieth century, in competition with the popularity of the Lithuanian folk song. Alexander Kurschat and Hugo Scheu edited the Low-Lithuanian Zemaitische Tierfabeln (Heidelberg, 1913). Karl Plentzat acknowledged the Lithuanian fairy-tales by absorbing them in his collections Der Wundergarten (Berlin, 1922) and Die goldene Brücke (Leipzig, n. d.). In the city of Berlin Carl Capeller continued the trend by publishing the Litauische Marchen und Geschichten (1924) and in the same year emerged Maximilian Boehm's and I. Specht's collection of Lettisch-litauische Volksmärchen published by E. Diederichs Verlag in Jena.

The presence of the Lithuanian cultural feature in the scope of the German drama is not so pronounced and numerous as in the German publications regarding "litauische Volks-literatur." However, its limited existence in the German drama of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries cannot be completely disregarded or minimized.

In the previous discussion concerning the Lithuanian folk song it was disclosed that the influence of the Lithuanian "Volkslied" Į>enetrated even into Goethe's theatrical production Die Fischerin (1782). Thus Goethe, quite unintentionally, extended the first authoritative acceptance and recognition of the Lithuanian cultural profile as worthy of dramatic treatment.

Zacharias Werner (1768-1823), whose "Schicksalstragödie" Der Vierundswanzigste Februar pleased Goethe in Weimar, used the Lithuanian tribal characters as the substratum for his drama Das Kreuz an der Ostsee, Part I: Die Brautnacht (1806).26 The portraiture of the Balto-Lithuanian cultural trait in this drama, despite the fact that it is exposed to an accusation of being misconceived and misrepresented, is accomplished with a surprising dramatic understanding not only of its historically important background, but also unmasking a penetrating ability to capture the fine contours of the people's soul in the tragic struggle with the Teutonic knights. The Lithuanian tribal people stand as a symbol of the Old-Pagan-World in the stage of destruction at the hands of the approaching new Era of Christianity.27 Josef von Eichendorff (1788-1857) with his tragedy Der letzte Held von Marienburg, written in the year 1830, intends to complete this ensanguined mosaic of struggles for the domination of the East Prussian lands—the characterization of which cannot be accomplished without touching upon any aspect of the Lithuanian tribal or more modern history.

Eduard Graf von Keyserling (1855-1918), a native of Courland, dedicated two of his dramas: Frühlingsopfer (1899) and Dimmer Hans (1901) to the Lithuanian folk. Both of these dramas were viewed by Albert Soergel as the "schwer-miitige Idyllen aus dem litauischen Volksleben," which show the richness of thought and uniqueness of form. They do not comply to a single style but fluctuate between lyricism and drama; between naturalism and romanticism.28 The presentation of the Frühlingsopfer on the Berlin stage was received by the critics and the spectators with noteworthy approval.29 It remains to be flattering that even the warmly glittering sun in the Mediterranean sky did not occlude Keyserling's perceptive eyes to the unescapable seductiveness of the northeastern European lands — one of them being Lithuania.30

"Dein schönes . .. Stück, das sich .... wie ein Volkslied, wird so auch von der Bühne wirken.—" these words, carrying an optimistic evaluation, were written by Hermann Sudermann to his spouse Clara, in reference to her Lithuanian drama Die faule Mare.31 It was accepted by the "Munchener Schauspielhaus" for the stage production and was presented to the Munich audience in the middle of March, 1904. The play itself did not leave any noticeable imprint in the pages of literary history, but it is more than probable that subconsciously or even consciously it influenced the development of Hermann Sudermann as a ''Heimatdichter." especially in regard to his later concentrated preoccupation with the Lithuanian nation. Furthermore it is not suprising that in the dramatic works of Rolf Lauckner (1887-1954), who stood so near Sudermann's literary path, the Lithuanian element constituted a commanding part. The action of his dramas Predigt in Litauen (1918), Der letzte Preusse (1936-37), Herkus Monte und der Ritter Hirzhals (1938), Gedichte und Melodramen (1953), not only took place in the Lithuanian or Lithuanian-Minor areas, but the dramatist also placed effectively Lithuanian characters among his "dramatis personae."

The German prose of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries exhibits also a notable interest in Lithuania and its people. The prose works enclosing the Lithuanian national character increase substantially as compared to the number of dramatic productions on the subject and their sequential publications.

Christiane Benedikte Naubert (1756-1819) with her novel Heinrich von Plauen und seine Neffen (1793) and Ludwig von Baczko (1756-1823) with the two volume narrative Vitold Grossfurst von Lithauen created a salient and panoramic portraiture of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Vytautas (Vitold) and the iridescent profile of his people. A truly loyal and undeviating representative of the era of German romanticism, Ernest Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann (1776-1822), born in Konigsberg and an associate of Adalbert Chamisso in Berlin, was so impressed by the Lithuanian "Kurische Nehrug" that he delineated the beauty of this delicate, silver-pale land in his "Novelle" Das Majorat.32 Heinrich Laube (1806-1884), a member of "Das Junge Deutshland," exposed the Lithuanian historical personages in his narrative Die Bandomire,33 but the cardinal contribution was made by the gifted Ernst Wichert (1831-1902) with his Littauische Geschichten (1881) and Neue Littauische Geschichten (1893).34 The artistically efficacious creation of the Lithuanian women characters in this cycle of "Novellen" was and probably still may be considered by the German literary historians as a memorable contribution to the treasures of German literature. Wichert's historical novels, Heinrich von Plauen (1881),35 Der grosse Kurfürst in Preussen (1887), and Tileman vom Wege (1890) reach into the pages of East Prussian history where the presence of the Lithuanian national-cultural segment is "facile princeps."

A list of German prose publications, exceeding two hundred in number, attracting the reader's attention during the latter part of the nineteenth and the present century, involve directly the Lithuanian element, namely in the form of an historical event, the Lithuanian populated area, the Lithuanian nation, or its unique national culture. Clara Nast in her narrations Litauisch Blut (Berlin, 1901), Die Sängerin (Berlin, 1901) betrayed an opulent sentimentality of the authoress and at the same time manifested the gentle contours of the Lithuanian soul, moving among the conflicting forces of human existence. During the year 1911, Johannes Richard zur Megede's (1864-1904) novels Modeste and Félicie were planted in the Lithuanian regions. Equally, journals such as Altpreussische Rundschau,36 Wachtjeuer, Kunstbliitter sum Krieg 1914-15, Grenzland 37 and Ostdeutsche Monatshefte38 in one or another respect dedicated numerous pages to the Lithuanian people and their cultural colorfulness. Katerine Botsky's Ostpreussens Feuerzeit (1915), Paul Burg's Die litauische Braut (1917), Alfred Brust's Die verlorene Erde (1926) and Paul Brock's Die auf den Morgen warten...! (1939) possess an explicit trait which originated in the characteristically Lithuanian national or cultural sphere. Also to this period belongs Hermann Sudermann (1857-1928) with his well publicized Litauische Geschichten (1917) and his autobiographical work Das Bilderbuch meiner Jugend (1922) containing Lithuanian national aspects. Entering our modern era Werner Bergengruen's (1892- ) publication of a short story Die Hande am Mast (1949); Ernst Wiechert's (1887-1950) final novel Missa sine nomine (1949-1950); Hans Waldenburg's presentation of In ein Land, das ich Dir zeigen will (1952); Charlotte Kayser's Und dann wurde es hell (1953); Heinz Panka's inclusion of "Gespräch unter Männern" into the Heitere Stremel von Weichsel und Memel (1959) and the Litauendeutsche Studien (1958) indicate that the interest in Lithuania and its cultural profile continues to flourish in the turbulent currents of our present day.

In the twentieth century German lyrical poetry Agnes Miegel (1879-1964) contributed greatly to the life of the Lithuanian national culture in the German literature. Her poetic works such as "Lied des Gedimin" and "Memel" (1953) flow from the historical past to the reminiscences of the modern day. Furthermore her poetic ability penetrated, with great success, the genre of prose. The string of narratives under the title of Stimme des Schicksals (1926 ff.) or individually glitering prose creations such as "Die schone Malone" (1926), "Die Mahr" (1828), "Meine alte Lina" (1934) or "Der Geburtstag" remain as her testimony of admiration for the Lithuanian people and their unique path of life. 39

Consequently, it is not at all surprising that the corps of these German writers, with their treatment of Lithuania or Lithuania Minor which they viewed as a mysteriously strange land, surrounded with primitive magic, opened for the Lithuanian nation and its culture the portals to the modern world of German and Western European literatures.


1    Catechismusa Prasty Szadei ... (Königsberg, 1647).
2    Cf. S. Heberstein's commentary regarding Lithuania and its population in Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii Sigis-mundi Liberi Baronis in Heberetein (Wien, 1549).
3    See F. und H. Tetzner, Dainos. Litauische Volksgesänge (Leipzig, 1897), pp. 11-19.
4    T. Lepner, Der Preussische Littauer (Danzig, 1744), pp. 94-95.
5    To the puzzlement of the reader, T. Lepner, in contrary to his negative point of view, offered Wilhelmus Martinus' poem, written originally in Latin, extolling the natural simplicity and richness of the Lithuanian national soul.
6    Cf. P. Fechter, "Der östliche Verschmelzungsraum," Dichtung und Volkstum, XXXV (1934), 318.
7    "Dainos," PI. of "Daina" — a worldly song; in opposition to "giesmė" — a song of religious nature. For the historical summary of the Lithuanian folk song in German Literature, the writer is indebted to A. Domeikaite's, Die litauischen Volkslieder in der deutschen Literatur (diss. München, 1926). Hereafter cited as A. Domeikaite, Volkslieder.
8    The formation of diminutives in the Lithuanian language.
9    G. E. Lessing, "Briefe die neueste Littteratur betreffend," Deutsche National-Litteratur, LXIV, 229 ff. Hereafter cited as DNL, plus the volume and the page number.
10    J. G. Hamann, Kreuzzüge des Phililogen, Hamanns Werke (Wein, 1950), II, 215-6.
11    W. Harich, "Königsberg," Pantheon (Berlin, 1925), p. 355.
12    Written in the years 1778-1779 and republished by J. v. Müller (Tübingen, 1807); its continuation was known simply as Volkslieder (Leipzig, 1825, 1840) and in the modern era as Stimmen der Volker (Stuttgart: E. Klett, 1938) or "Volkslieder," appearing in Johann Gottfried Herders Werke (München, 1953).
13    J. G. Herder, "Von Ahnlichkeit der mittlern englischen und deutschen Dichtkunst," in Herders Ausgewdhlte Werke, hrsg. v. A. Stern (Leipzig, n.d.), II, 130 also in DNL, LXXVI, 272.
14    W. Scherer, Geschichte der Deutschen Literatur (Berlin, n. d.), p. 530.
15    The writer is quite aware of the fact that English poetry also possesses examples portraying similar motives, to mention only Robert Browning's (1812-1889) "Boot, saddle, to horse away!" or for that matter the Old Nordic folk songs: "Du steig nun zu Ross..." (Jung Hillerstrom), German, French, and Spanish-Portuguese "Tagelieder," as displayed in Tausendmund, hrsg. v. g. v. d. Vring u. Gurghart (München, 1962), p. 200, p. 185, etc.
16    Goethes Sämtliche Werke (Cotta'sche, Jubilaums Ausgabe), VIII, 69ff.
17    The auspicious reviews of this monumental collection were written by Jakob Grimm in Gottingsche Gelehrte Anzeigen. Nr. 104 (1826), II, 1026.
18    For further discussion refer to I. Skrupskelis, Die Litauer in der detitschen Literatur des 18. Jahrhunderts (diss. Wien, 1932), pp. 150-175; also see F. Tezner, "L. Rhesa v. Karwaiten," Roland I., pp. 637-8, 653-4.
19    A. v. Chamisso, Werke, hrsg. v. H. Tardel (Leipzig, Wien, 1907-8), I, 103, 119-122. For further discussion see V. Jung-fer, "Litauen im Spiegel seiner Volksliteratur," Litauen-deutsche Studien (Wiirzburg, 1958), p. 4"
20    The relationship between the German and Lithuanian folk songs is treated by H. Engert in Aus litauischer Dichtung; deutsche Nachdichtungen (Kaunas-Leipzig, 1935-9), and by E. Seemann in "Deutsch-litauische Volksliedbeziehungen," Jahrbuch für Volksliedforschung, VII (1951), 142-211.
21    R. v. der Meulen, Die Naturvergleiche in den Liedern und Totenklagen der Litauer (Leiden, 1907).
22    V. Jungfer, "Die Raubehe im litauischen Volkliede," Das neue Litauen, Nr. 15-16 (1918).
23    A. Brust, "Die litauische Kultur und der Expressionismus," Das neue Litauen, I (1918), 50-51.
24    W. W. Ulmenried-Naujeck, "Zur litauischen Literatur," Das neue Litauen, Nr. 18-19 (1918).
25    Die neue Rundschau, XXVIII (January, 1917), Heft 1.
26    The second part of the drama, the basic outline of which was reported by E. T. A. Hoffman in his Serapionsbrüder (1819-21), was not realized. The coloring of the historical background of Die Brautnacht, however, echoed later in G. Freytag's "Die Brüder vom deutschen Hause," Die Ahnen (Leipzig, n.d.).
27    Reminiscent of Friedrich Hebbel's (1813-1863) interpretation of tragedy as reflected in Herodes und Marianne (1850) or interestingly in G. W. F. Hegel's (1770-1831) theory of dialecticism.
28    A. Soergel, Dichtung und Dichter, der Zeit (Leipzig, 1911), p. 793.
29    Freiherr v. Taube, "Daten zur Biographie Eduards von Keyserling," Euphorion, XLVIII (1954), 9697.
30    See E. v. Keyserling's "Novellen" Schwüle Tage (1906).
31    I. Leux, Briefe Hermann Sudermanns an seine Frau (Stuttgart und Berlin, 1932), pp. 140, 153, 167, 198, 199, 201.
32    E. T. A. Hoffmanns Werke, hrsg. v. Georg Ellinger (Berlin-Leipzig-Wien-Stuttgart, n.d.), p. 166.
33    H. Laube, Die Bandomire, Gesammelte Schriften (Wien, 1877), IX.
34    Three editions of this work indicates a respectable popularity among the German readers of the time.
35    Cf. B. Blume's drama Die Schwertbrüder (1933) and F. Bethge's Rebellion um Preussen (1938).
36    O. Schwarzien, "Erzählungen aus Lithauen," Altpreussische Rundschau (1913), Heft 1, pp. 27-29.
37    W. Mittasch, "Schaktarp," Grenzland (1920), Heft 5.38    E. Brönner-Hüpfner, "Ein Litauerbengel," (Kindergeschichte!) Ostdeutsche Monatshefte (1921), Heft 4 (Sonderheft "Memel"), pp. 173-176.
39    See A. šešplaukis, "Lietuviškas elementas Agnes Miegel kūryboje," Aidai Nr. 8 (1961) and A. Matulis, "Miré Agnes Miegel," Aidai, Nr. 2 (1965), 90-91.