Belarusian Literature

Belarusian literature, Belarusian literature, Belarusian literature, literature in the Belarusian language.

Belarusian literature has unusually rich folk poetry (songs, sayings, riddles, fairy tales), some of which preserve pre-Christian heritage, but which lacks the heroic epic.

Middle Ages and Modern Times

According to allcitycodes, the beginnings of literature on Belarusian territory are related to the introduction of Christianity in the 10th century and can be seen in the context of the Church Slavonic literature of the Kiev Empire (Russian literature). A special development began after the subjugation of Belarus by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. In the 19th century, a religious translation literature (legends, apocrypha, sermons) was created in a Belarusian editorial office of Church Slavonic, which at times was also the general language of the chancellery in Lithuania. Independent works up to the 16th century are v. a. Vita of local saints, sermons, chronicles (“Avraamka”, 1495, Lithuanian chronicles) and annals.

In the 16th century, the translation of the Bible (1517-19) by Franzischak Skorina appeared in a printing house he founded in Prague in 1517 especially for the publication of religious literature and soon afterwards relocated to Vilnius, as well as the Calvinist Catechism (1562) by Symon Budny (* um 1530, † 1593) and the Belarusian Gospel (around 1579) by the anti-Trinitarian Wassil M. Zjapinski (* around 1540, † 1603); both occasionally used the Belarusian vernacular. In addition, there were the beginnings of a poem (Andrej Rymscha, * around 1550, † after 1595) and a memoir literature (Fjodar Jeŭlaschoŭski, * 1546, † 1604).

After the unification of Lithuania with Poland (1569), Belarusian literature was exposed to an increased Polish influence. The nobility converted to Catholicism and adopted the Polish language, while the people continued to speak Belarusian. Thus, despite the Belarusian language ban (1696), there are Belarusian literary elements. The most important representative of Belarusian literature in the 17th century was the monk Simeon Polotski, who had lived in Moscow since 1663, who initially wrote in the Belarusian language and tried to get closer to Greater Russia.

In the 19th century, under the sign of Romanticism, a Belarusian national literature in the vernacular was created, v. a. by Wikenzi P. Rawinski (* 1786, † around 1855), Jan Barschtscheŭski (* 1794 or 1790, † 1851) and Jan Tschatschot (* 1796, † 1847), who used folk poetry. Wikenzi Dunin-Marzinkewitsch (* 1807, † 1884) came out with satires and comedies. Franzischak K. Bahuschewitsch (* 1840, † 1900) with realistic poems about rural life and his famous collection of folk songs “Dudka belaruskaja” (around 1891) is considered the real father of linguistic and national rebirth. Love of home, national feeling and village life are also subjects of the poetry of Janka Lutschyna (* 1851, † 1897) and Zjotka (actually Alaisa S. Paschkewitsch, * 1876, † 1916). In the 1860s a violent denationalization began by the tsarist authorities. In 1867, the printing of Belarusian books was banned. Since then there have been many revolutionary writings and anonymous poems accused of the plight of Belarusian peasants.

Modern and present

The revolutionary events of 1905 gave the Belarusian national movement greater freedom and brought Belarusian literature, among others. by lifting the ban on printing Belarusian books, new opportunities for development. The Vilna magazine “Nascha niwa” (1906–15) became the center of the national rebirth and brought together the young generation of writers with its social and cultural-political program. With it began the “classical” period of modern Belarusian literature, one of whose pioneers was Jadwihin Sha (* 1868, † 1922) with psychologically and artistically valuable prose. J. Kupala, who is considered the most important Belarusian writer, and J. Kolas emerged with poems, dramas, stories and novels that make rural life in Belarus patriotic; Maksim Harezki (* 1893, † 1939) treated the First World War and the relationship between the people and the intelligentsia in his prose. They were joined by Maksim A. Bahdanowitsch (* 1891, † 1917) with formally perfect poetry influenced by symbolism. Smitrok Bjadulja (actually Samuil Jafimawitsch Plaŭnik, * 1886, † 1941) wrote poetic prose and combined impressionistic lyricisms with psychological perception. Albert F. Paŭlowitsch (* 1875, † 1951) stood out with humorous poems and stories, but also with dramas. Zischka Hartny (* 1888, † 1938), the first head of government of the Belarusian SSR, became known for poems and the tetralogy »Soki caliny« (1922–29).

After 1917, Belarusian literature was consciously promoted (including permanent Belarusian theater). Literary groups (»Maladnjak«, »Polymja«) represented different, sometimes avant-garde currents. The Belarusian Soviet literature of the 1920s and 30s treated critically or apologetically v. a. the events of the October Revolution and the Civil War as well as the changes in the village: next to Kupala and Kolas v. a. the playwright Kandrat Krapiwa (* 1896, † 1991). At the end of the 1920s, literary freedom was increasingly restricted, and with the first Soviet writers’ congress in 1934, Belarusian literature, as Soviet literature, was in principle committed to the doctrine of socialist realism. The prose works by K. Tschorny and Michas Lynkoŭ (* 1899, † 1975) are characterized by their independence and artistic standards; The poet was Pilip S. Pestrak (* 1903, † 1978), who also wrote novels and stories about the time of the revolution, as well as Pjatrus Broŭka (* 1905, † 1980) and Pjatro Hlebka (* 1905, † 1969) emerged. Numerous authors who did not submit to the demands of socialist realism were fought and suppressed as “formalists, cosmopolitans and nihilists”; many perished in the Stalinist purges.

After the Second World War, the conflict with the war and the post-war period predominated. a. with M. Tank, Alaksej W. Pyssin (* 1920) and Mikola Aŭramtschyk (* 1920), in prose with Iwan P. Schamjakin (* 1921, † 2004) and Iwan P. Melesch (* 1921, † 1976). The following generation was founded by Nil Hilewitsch (* 1931), Ryhor Baradulin (* 1935, † 2014), Nina Mazjasch (* 1943) and others. represent; Ales Rasanoŭ (* 1947) turned to verse libre.

In the 1960s a number of prose writers dealt with historical subjects, v. a. with the revolutionary events, so Uladsimir S. Karatkewitsch (* 1930, † 1984), Arkads D. Tscharnyshevich (* 1912, † 1967), Mikola Loban (* 1911, † 1984) and Melesch. W. U. Bykaŭ (Russian W. W. Bykow) dealt with the Second World War, but also dealt critically with Stalinism. Under the overwhelming influence of the Russian language and culture, the readership of Belarusian literature declined, so that many works only appeared in magazines and collections.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, a return to Belarusian independence began. a. in journalism – reckoning went hand in hand with the past. Laryssa Henijuschs (* 1910, † 1983) reports about her experiences in Soviet prison camps (Gulag) were published in 1990–91. One of the most important representatives of contemporary Belarusian literature is Swetlana Alexiewitsch (* 1948), who v. a. became known with documentary prose on the war in Afghanistan and the consequences of the reactor accident in Chernobyl. Furthermore, Ales Rasanaŭ (* 1947) to name.

Belarusian Literature