Jansons, Janis

Jansons, Jānis


(party and pen name, Brauns). Born Mar. 6 (18), 1872, in the volost (small rural district) of Rava, Courland Province (now Liepāja Raion, Latvian SSR); died Mar. 31 (Apr. 13), 1917, in an explosion on a steamship while returning from emigration. Latvian revolutionary figure and literary critic.

In the 1890’s, Jansons was one of the leaders of the revolutionary democratic movement Jaunā Strāva (New Trend). He became a leader of the Baltic Latvian Social Democratic Labor Organization in 1903, the Latvian Social Democratic Labor Party in 1904, and the Social Democracy of the Latvian Territory in 1906. Jansons emigrated in 1906. In 1907 he served as a delegate to the Fifth Congress of the RSDLP. Between 1911 and 1914, V. I. Lenin criticized him for his conciliatory attitude toward the Liquidators. During World War I, Jansons was a member of the Bolshevik section in London.

Jansons’s series of articles entitled “Thoughts on Modern Literature” (1892–93) marked the beginning of Latvian Marxist literary criticism, and his book Fauns or Clowns? (1908) criticized decadence. Jansons was also the author of the book Historical Materialism (1910) and the articles “Will We Have Proletarian Art?” (1913) and “Latvian Sociocultural Development and Latvian Literature” (1916).


Kopoti raksti, vols. 1–7. Riga, 1921–28.


Upīts, A. J. Jansons-Brauns: Dzīve un darbs. Riga, 1930.
Šteinbergs, V., and A. Vilsons. J. Jansona-Brauna dzīve. Riga, 1957.
Pūce, O. J. Jansons-Brauns: Bibliogrāafija. Riga, 1968.