Jaunā Gaita nr. 287. Ziema 2016



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JG 287



Literary critic and historian Juris Silenieks (1925-2016), member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and a Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh) professor, has been a contributing editor to our quarterly since 1970. Rolfs Ekmanis gives an account of Silenieks’ scholarly achievements.



On the 150th anniversary of Janis Rozentāls (1866-1916), Sanita Upleja focuses on two art exhibits – Symbolism and Decadence in Stockholm at the Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde Museum, where Rozentāls was included among known West European artists, and Māksla un tehnika (Art and Technique), dedicated exclusively to Rozentāls, at the National Art Museum in Rīga. Upleja together with art historian Māris Brancis note that Rozentāls’ paintings, depending on the time when they were created, contain elements of realism, national romanticism, neoclassicism, symbolism, impressionism and art nouveau.

The younger generation graphic artist Daniela Treija presents a set of visual paraphrases of Rozentāls’ classic works.

JG associate editor Linda Treija devotes her article to representatives of three generations of the same family of artists – Voldemārs Avens, a long-time contributing editor to JG, his daughter Indra Avena and his granddaughter Madelēna Miniata. All three were featured together in a recent Klinklavs Gallery exhibit at the Latvian Center Garezers in Michigan. A part of Indra Avena’s painting graces our cover.

Māris Brancis writes about the historic role of JG in fostering and disseminating visual art by Latvian artists.

Poet Dace Micāne Zālīte interviews internationally known architect Gunars Birkerts (U.S. embassy in Caracas, Venezuela; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; University of Michigan Law School Library et al), concentrating on his most recent building – the National Library of Latvia, known as Gaismas pils (Castle of Light), inspired by Latvian folklore and literature.


Icelandic poet, playwright and novelist, Sigurbjörg Ţrastardóttir, last autumn participated in the annual Poetry Days in Rīga. We feature eight of her poems, translated by Ingmāra Balode and Uldis Bērziņš. In addition, Bērziņš shares his own poetic dream – following a conversation with a Bulgarian poet at the House of Writers in the Baltic seaport of Ventspils.

In Lienīte Medne-Spāre’s minimalist prose work, we meet the loveless protagonists in a case of family inheritance.

Physician/memoirist/poet Jānis Liepiņš’ ironic and playfully erotic one act play is set in a guest house featuring a tap dancer.

Līvija Baumane-Andrejevska (University of Latvia) looks into the tragic life and poetry of Zemgaliešu Biruta (1878-1906).

Sanita Briežkalne, curator of rare books and manuscripts at the National Library, describes how the Age of Enlightenment dawned on Latvia from the west.

Pauls Raudseps, one of the founders and editors of the weekly news journal Ir, gives his take on the selection of Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize in literature.


Madara Eversone (University of Latvia) delivers part two of her analysis of the genesis and organizational structure of the Writers Union during Soviet occupation.

Vladislavs Niteckis reminisces on the Baltic University, founded 70 years ago in Pinneberg, West Germany, by Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian political refugees.

The section Dažos vārdos (In a Few Words) summarizes important cultural events and recent publications, as well as sociopolitical actualities relevant to the Baltic region.


Anita Liepiņa reviews Andris Ezergailis’ collection of articles Caur velna zobiem. Vācu laiki šodien 1941-1945 (In the Jaws of the Devil: The Effects of the German Occupation Today 1941-1945).

Juris Šlesers comments on Ji Xianlin’s The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.


Jaunā Gaita