Jaunā Gaita nr. 135, 1981. g. 4. numurs

JG 135


Our lead article, Aina Siksna's "The Problematic of Latvian Identity in Ervīns Grīns' novel, Zelta Motocikls (A Golden Motorcycle)," is a psychoanalytic study of a recent novel. The protagonist, Igors, becomes psychotic after attending a Latvian Song Festival. Siksna traces the causes of his madness, finding that Igors' sense of national identity, his relationship with his parents, his sexuality, and his life experiences as a soldier and exile have interacted to create irreconcilable contradictions in his psyche. Caught between his Slavic name and his service with the Germans in the Second World War, between his strong ethnic pride and his vivid memory of defeat, Igors mirrors the Latvians of his generation as he tries to hold together a crumbling inner world. Siksna emphasizes both sides of Igors, the subtly depicted fictional character as well as the representative of national experience, and she praises Grīns for his craftsmanship, insight, and courage.

"Strip Naked, Then You'll Get Warm," by Edīte Zuzena, is a review article on Sarma Muižniece's collection of poems, Izģērbies (Strip Naked). Muižniece's grandmother and mother, Rūta Skujiņa and Lalita Muižniece, are also poets, and Zuzena looks at some themes shared by all three.

Long time contributor Andris Vītoliņš surveys and comments on some recent, and a few older, recordings of music composed or performed by Latvians. Among those recorded by exiles, Vītoliņš discusses the arrangements of folk music for folk instruments by the Latvian ensemble, "Kolibri"; the highly individualistic compositions of Arnolds Šturms; and performances by three vocal groups: the London youth ensemble, "Atbalss," the Toronto women's choir, "Zīle," and the San Francisco student group, "Līča vēji." Vītoliņš also assesses some works by Latvian composers on the Soviet Melodiya label, comprising experimental vocal pieces by Pauls Dambis; Romualds Jermaks' 2nd Concerto for Organ, and other works; Romualds Kalsons' Concerto Grosso; Adolfs Skulte's 5th Symphony; Jānis Ivanovs' 17th Symphony, and his tone poem, "Lāčplēsis"; and the oratorio "Dzīvā kvēle," by Lūcija Garūta. Also from Melodiya is the second volume in the series "Historic Organs of Latvia."

Dr. Haralds Biezais evaluates two books by Arturs Plaudis, Akcenti (Accents) and Pretmets (Antithesis), in his article, "It is Possible to Think Otherwise." These are collections of essays, sketches, correspondence, and memoirs by a notable figure in exile letters. The last item in each volume is an essay, one on "The Latvian Writer in Exile," and the other, "In the Footseps of Destruction," on the present state of Latvian culture in exile.

Our series on "The Future of Socialism" continues in this issue with an article by Pāvils Aizkalnietis, "The Social Democrats and their Role in the Future." Aizkalnietis refutes recent attacks on the Social Democrats as differing very little from Communists by arguing that exile Latvians have very little idea of Social Democracy.

Contributing editor Imants Sakss looks back at the 7th Latvian Song Festival of Canada and Ņina Luce reviews a new play about Rainis and Aspazija by Māra Rozīte.

In this issue we have poems by Māra Zālīte, Valda Dreimane, Imants Barušs, Lidija Dombrovska, Uģis Sprūdžs, Ieva Lešinska, Alma Bēne, Dzintars Rubenis, Monika Zariņa, Inārs Brēdrichs, and Knuts Skujenieks. We also have a story by Jānis Gorsvāns, "A Stranger Seen Somewhere Before."

Cover design by Vitauts Sīmanis.


Jānis Svilpis

Jaunā Gaita