Julija Zemaite

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Žemaitė, Julija

 

(pseudonym; married name, Žymantiené). Born May 31 (June 12), 1845, on the Bukante estate in 2emaitija; died Dec. 8, 1921, in Marijampole (present-day Kapsukas). Lithuanian writer.

Žtemaité was from an impoverished noble family. She associated with the peasants and married a former serf who had taken part in the 1863 uprising. She and her husband farmed for about 30 years. Žemaité’s first story was not published in the Lithuanian calendar until 1894. She joyfully greeted the Revolution of 1905–07 and was active in public affairs, especially after moving to Vilnius in 1912. She left for the United States in 1916 to collect money among Lithuanian emigrants; she returned to Lithuania in 1921.

The main themes of Žemaité’s works were the life of the Lithuanian peasants (the short stories “The Daughter-inlaw,” “Petras Kurmelis,” “Topylis,” and “The Idler”), irreconcilable social contradictions (such short stories as “At the Estate,” “Strike on the Estate,” and “Gifts from America”), and denunciation of clericalism and religious prejudices (“Pilgrimage to Sidlavas” and “Sacrifice to St. Jurgis”). Zemaite also wrote comedies, essays, topical satires, and publicistic articles. In her unfinished Autobiography she described her life until 1895 against a broad social background. Her works are full of love for the Lithuanian people and Lithuanian nature, customs, and language; they have been translated into many languages.

WORKS

Raštai, vols. 1–6. Vilnius, 1956–57.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. soch., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1951.
Izbr. soch. [Introductory article by K. Korsakas.] Vilnius, 1952.
Snokha: Rasskazy. Vilnius, 1966.

REFERENCES

Korsakas, K. Literatūra ir kritika. Vilnius, 1949.
Lietuvin literaturos istorija, vol. 2. Vilnius, 1958.
Šešelgis, A. éemaites rašty tekstologiniai klausimai. Vilnius, 1968.

K. DOVEIKA