Baltic Postcolonialism

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Violeta Kelertas
Rodopi, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 464 pages
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Emerging from the ruins of the former Soviet Union, the literature of the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia is analyzed from the fruitful perspective of postcolonialism, a theoretical approach whose application to former second-world countries is in its initial stages. This groundbreaking volume brings scholars working in the West together with those who were previously muffled behind the Iron Curtain. They gauge the impact of colonization on the culture of the Baltic states and demonstrate the relevance of concepts first elaborated by a wide range of critics from Frantz Fanon to Homi Bhabha. Examining literary texts and the situation of the intellectual reveals Baltic concerns with identity and integrity, the rewriting of previously blotted out or distorted history, and a search for meaning in societies struggling to establish their place in the world after decades - and perhaps millennia - of oppression. The volume dips into the late Tsarist period, then goes more deeply into Soviet deportations to the Gulag, while the main focus is on works of the turning-point in the late 1980s and 1990s. Postcolonial concepts like mimicry, subjectivity and the Other provide a new discourse that yields fresh insights into the colonized countries' culture and their poignant attempts to fight, to adapt and to survive. This book will be of interest to literary critics, Baltic scholars, historians and political scientists of Eastern Europe, linguists, anthropologists, psychologists, sociologists, working in the area of postcommunism and anyone interested in learning more about these ancient and vibrant cultures.

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About the author (2006)

Violeta Kelertas is Associate Professor and Endowed Chair of Lithuanian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is past president of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (1996- 1998) and recipient of grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board (1986-1987) and the Fulbright Commission (1994) for research and lecturing in Lithuania. She is the author of numerous articles and reviews mainly on Soviet Lithuanian literature and criticism and has propagated feminism, postmodernism and postcolonialism as rich approaches to Lithuanian prose fiction. Her volume of translated short stories, "Come into My Time" Lithuania in Prose Fiction (University of Illinois Press, 1992) bears her lengthy introduction. Well-known as a translator, she also edits several journals in the United States, Lituanus and Metmenys, and serves on several editorial boards in Lithuania.