French-Lithuanian Universe of Literary Critique by Greimas

  • Loreta Mačianskaitė Lietuvių literatūros ir tautosakos institutas
Keywords: Lithuanian literature, French literature, Europeanism, semiotics, essay, literary history


The idea for the present article came from the doubt expressed in the thesis of the world-renowned Algirdas Julius Greimas (1917–1992) that there is an unbridgeable gap between his Lithuanian essays and French semiotics. The analysis of texts written in Lithuanian in 1943–1955, dedicated to Cervantes, Verlaine, and Corneille unveils the most important methods of his analytical work: prioritizing the text over its context; the aim to uncover the author’s authenticity. Greimas used the model of structural similarities between French and Lithuanian literatures for constructing Lithuanian literary history. In his estimation of Lithuanian poets, Greimas aimed at finding authors of the European level; a principle of analogies is fruitfully used for understanding their works. Lithuanian essays show that Greimas also wrote them as a semiotician. Some of Greimas’s contemplations about literature also indicate the limits of his thinking, but the body of his works still reveals a surprising integrity of his personality.


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