Lithuanian Poetry in the Light of European Existentialism: Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas

Eugenijus Žmuida


The article concentrates on the perspectives of two disciplines – the Lithuanian literature and philosophy of Existentialism – and their specific manifestations as literature of existentialism, and aims to represent how the main questions of existence began to arise in Lithuanian poetry and later were spread at the theoretical level at the university in Kaunas. Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas is the author whose works symbolically represent a turning point in Lithuanian literature. Finding himself in a difficult and ambiguous situation, having entered priesthood, the traditional education for peasant children, he had to break the ties with his past and gain status as an independent artist. The theme of choice, authentic life and questions of the human place in the universe found their poetic expression in the meditative poetry of Mykolaitis-Putinas. In the poetry of his last period, the theme of death becomes important and Heidegger’s concept “Being-toward-death” (“Sein zum Tode”) emerges as the last thrilling problem. Mykolaitis-Putinas had an impact on the younger generation of Lithuanian poets to whom existential problems were self-evident.


Lithuanian Poetry; philosophy; Existentialism; Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas; free will; authentic being; fear; faith

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