Volume 20, No.4 - Winter 1974
Editors of this issue: J.A. Rackauskas
Copyright © 1974 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Encyclopedia Lituanica, vol. III. Edited by Simas Sužiedėlis and Vincas Rastenis. English Language Editor Raphael Sealey, University of California, Berkeley. Editorial Assistant Rita Kapočius. Published by Juozas Kapočius — Encyclopedia Lituanica, 395 West Broadway, So. Boston, Mass. 02127. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 74-114275. Boston, 1973.

This encyclopedia will have six volumes. With volume III already published, half of the work has been accomplished. Volume III covers letters K, L, and M. It looks as good as the first two volumes of this unusual accomplishment.

Why 'unusual'? The simple truth of the matter is that — as far as it is known to this reviewer — no ethnic group in diaspora has ever published two large encyclopedias in such a manner, in another country. After all, the "predecessor" of this 6-volume Encyclopedia Lituanica is the 36-volume Lietuvių Enciklopedija (Lithuanian Encyclopedia, in Lithuanian) which was published by the same Publisher in Boston in the years 1954 • 1966. And, unless I am mistaken, only one other ethnic group in the United States has hitherto published multi-volume special encyclopedias in English.

As already mentioned above, this volume covers three letters: K has 248 pages (10-257), L has 180 pages (258-437), and M has 138 pages (438-576). Like volumes I and II, this volume, too, presents a very fine listing of the main names, facts, events, places and ideas concerning Lithuania and the Lithuanians.

As always, in a publication of this nature, one can start a "quarrel" about the selection of the items, and about the proportional length devoted to the articles selected. In this short review, I will not even begin mentioning my own preferences as to the above.

There are articles in this volume which are really small monographs in themselves. The list of such articles, limited to the ones which have 4 or more pages, follows: Kaunas (14 pages), Kęstutis (6), Klaipėda (7), Knygnešys (4), Krėvė (4), (Lithuanian) Language (11), Latvia (12), Lithuanian Literature (20), Lithuania Minor (11), Maironis (4), Maps (of Lithuania) (5), Mindaugas (5), (Lithuanian) Music (6). There are also many fine articles of 2-3 pages on various topics. Clearly, no other reference work in English contains so much pertinent information as this one.

Since it is a pioneering work anyhow, there are some minor discrepancies, especially in specific terminology, used in English. E.g., on page 404, we find the main entry for the Lithuanian Statute. For three pages, discussing this item, only this term, i.e., Lithuanian Statute, Statutes, is used. And, we believe, correctly so. But on page 190 — under the main entry of Lappo... — this same Statute is called Lithuanian Code of Laws, and only parenthetically it is mentioned: "...the so-called Lithuanian Statute..." I think that both terms are really, proper, but perhaps, even a better one could be proposed: Lithuanian Codex?

One basic trouble with all encyclopedias is the fact that, as soon as they come out, they become, in some parts, already partially obsolete. This is especially true of current events, living authors, scientists, etc. Just a sample or two will illustrate this point. If one looks under Karaliūnas, Simas, a young and talented Lithuanian linguist, one misses the reference to his most important publication. To be sure, the same work, or may be its earlier version is mentioned in the article, but there is no bibliographical reference to its later and published version. And it is a very important publication, in the opinion of this reviewer, the most important single publication ever to be published on the relation between Baltic and Slavic. Or take Mažvydas: at least two important publications on Mažvydas by Gordon B. Ford, Jr. are not listed.

Or take the long and, basically, solid article on Language (really: the Lithuanian Language), one of the longest articles in this volume. It is written by Dr. Petras Jonikas. Here, too, we find a statement that is, in a way, already outdated. On page 277, Dr. Jonikas writes: "A relatively large number of research works is available on Lithuanian; however, there are only a few publications employing methods of modern linguistics." But what are really "methods of modern linguistics"? Dr. Jonikas uses the (taxonomic) method of structuralism of the fifties, and is that now, in 1974, still a 'modern method'? It depends, I would venture to say, on your attitude to the latest in linguistics. Many people would say that nowadays the "modern method in linguistics" would be only the generative — transformational approach. Be it as it may, this is the best 10-page characterization of Lithuanian language ever written in English. And it has a very good bibliography.

On the other hand, this reviewer finds it very gratifying that such, relatively speaking—recent events like the tragic attempt to reach freedom by Simas Kudirka, the self-immolation by Romas Kalanta have found their pertinent place in this volume. We also found a very nice article on the Siberian prayer book, Mary, save us (Marija, gelbėk mus). It was written by four Lithuanian girls in exile — somewhere in Northern Siberia. After its miraculous way to the West, it was translated into nine languages, and, in 9 editions, 745,000 copies were printed throughout the world. It was, I believe, the very first Lithuanian book to be translated into Chinese.

Antanas Klimas
The University of Rochester