19 June, 2017


Happy Monday fellow readers! Get your notebooks out, today you will meet one of the greatest Lithuanian writers!

So today we are in  Lithuania and we will explore:


Lithuanian writer Antanas Škėma:
Antanas Škėma (November 29, 1910 – August 11, 1961) was a Lithuanian writer, stage actor and director. His best known work is the novel The White Shroud (Balta drobulė). In 1935 he entered the theater studio directed by V.Sipavičius-Fedotas. While attending the studio he was also accepted to the Lithuanian State Theatre in Kaunas – in 1936, Škėma started acting on Lithuania's greatest stage. When he was in Kaunas he married Janina Solkeviciute, a Polish economist. From 1940 to 1944 he did work in Vilnius State Theater, at first as an actor, and later as a director. Škėma had parts in nearly every play of that time. In 1949, Škėma left Europe for United States of America, and actively joined Lithuanian exile cultural and theatrical activities . He acted at the Chicago Theater> and also in Boston's Drama Group performances. In 1960–1961 he worked in the editorial office of Vienybė newspaper. In addition, he was lecturing, writing and printing articles about theater and literature in several publications.


Škėma's only novel, "The White Shroud" (1958), aroused vivid literary discussions. Most of the literary critics considered "The White Shroud" an interesting literary experiment that tried to lead the Lithuanian novel down a new path. The novel traces the route towards madness of a poet named Antanas Garšva who, like Škėma, works as an elevator operator. The author discloses the character of Garšva and his tragic experiences.

The style of Antanas Škėma is very particular, full of
unexpected metaphor and subconscious. Nevertheless, there are stylistic contrasts also: lyric and aesthetically delicate confessions are suddenly followed by coarse, cynical images and rude words. He often plays with the sounds of language, disengaging phonemes from their literal meaning, as if to suggest a more transcendent meaning to the sounds. He's sometimes referred to as Lithuanian Albert Camus.


We had to read this book in school, and I remember it was so weird and strange that I didn't kind of understood it. But now when I'm an adult and I re-read this book, I understand the pain and the horrible truth and this book is just basically about how difficult it is to have some kind of a mental issue. This book is difficult to read, at least for me, and I have to really concentrate while reading it but it is very worth it.

When people ask me what this book is about I always compare to Metamorphosis by Camus, because to me these books a very similar.

One can only hope and pray to write a book that so many people would relate to and think about years after they read it.

See you next Monday!


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