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Positivism and Lithuanian prose. The second half of the 19th century ; Pozityvizmas ir lietuvių proza. XIX amžiaus antroji pusė

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VYTAUTAS MAGNUS UNIVERSITY Giedrius Židonis POSITIVISM AND LITHUANIAN PROSE (The second half of the 19th Century) Summary of Doctoral Dissertation Humanities, Philology (04 H) Kaunas, 2009 This doctoral dissertation was prepared at the Vytautas Magnus University from 1999 to 2008. The dissertation will be defended according to the protocol for external doctorates. Academic Consultant: Prof. Dr. Irena Buckley (Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H) The Dissertation will be defended before the Council of Philological Sciences of Vytautas Magnus University: Chairperson: Prof. Dr. Danguol ė Mikul ėnien ė (Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H) Members: Prof. Habil. Dr. Egidijus Aleksandravi čius (Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, History – 05 H) Doc. Dr. Dainora Abukevi čien ė-Poci ūt ė (Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H) Doc. Dr. Indr ė Žakevi čien ė (Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H) Doc. Dr. R ūta Br ūzgien ė (The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, Humanities, Philology – 04 H) Oponents: Prof. Habil. Dr. Virginija Šlekien ė-Balsevi či ūt ė (Vilnius Pedagogical University, Huma Doc. Dr.
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VYTAUTAS MAGNUS UNIVERSITY










Giedrius Židonis



POSITIVISM AND LITHUANIAN PROSE
(The second half of the 19th Century)






Summary of Doctoral Dissertation
Humanities, Philology (04 H)






















Kaunas, 2009 This doctoral dissertation was prepared at the Vytautas Magnus University from 1999
to 2008.
The dissertation will be defended according to the protocol for external doctorates.


Academic Consultant:
Prof. Dr. Irena Buckley (Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H)



The Dissertation will be defended before the Council of Philological Sciences of
Vytautas Magnus University:

Chairperson:
Prof. Dr. Danguol ė Mikul ėnien ė (Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology
– 04 H)

Members:
Prof. Habil. Dr. Egidijus Aleksandravi čius (Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities,
History – 05 H)

Doc. Dr. Dainora Abukevi čien ė-Poci ūt ė (Vilnius University, Humanities, Philology –
04 H)

Doc. Dr. Indr ė Žakevi čien ė (Vytautas Magnus University, Humanities, Philology –
04 H)

Doc. Dr. R ūta Br ūzgien ė (The Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore,
Humanities, Philology – 04 H)

Oponents:
Prof. Habil. Dr. Virginija Šlekien ė-Balsevi či ūt ė (Vilnius Pedagogical University,
Huma

Doc. Dr. Džiuljeta Maskuli ūnien ė (Siauliai University, Humanities, Philology – 04 H)

The dissertation will be defended at a public meeting of the Council of Philological
Sciences, in the Marija Gimbutien ė hall (room 211) of Vytautas Magnus University
Faculty of Humanities at 11 a. m. on February 13, 2009.
Address: K. Donelai čio 52, LT–44244 Kaunas, Lithuania

The summary of the doctoral dissertation was sent out on January 12, 2009.
Those interested may acquaint themselves with the doctoral dissertation at the
Lithuanian National Martynas Mažvydas library and at the libraries of Vytautas
Magnus University and the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore.




VYTAUTO DIDŽIOJO UNIVERSITETAS










Giedrius Židonis



POZITYVIZMAS IR LIETUVI Ų PROZA
(XIX amžiaus antroji pus ė)






Daktaro disertacijos santrauka
Humanitariniai mokslai, filologija (04 H)























Kaunas, 2009 Disertacija rengta 1999–2008 metais Vytauto Didžiojo universitete.
Disertacija ginama eksternu.



Mokslinis konsultantas:
prof. dr. Irena Buckley (Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai,
filologija – 04 H)



Disertacija ginama Vytauto Didžiojo universiteto Humanitarini ų moksl ų
krypties taryboje:

Pirmininkas:
prof. dr. Danguol ė Mikul ėnien ė (Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas, humanitariniai
mokslai, filologija – 04 H)

Nariai:
prof. habil. dr. Egidijus Aleksandravi čius (Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas,
humanitariniai mokslai, istorija – 05 H)

doc. dr. Dainora Abukevi čien ė-Poci ūt ė (Vilniaus universitetas, humanitariniai
mokslai, filologija – 04 H)

doc. dr. Indr ė Žakevi čien ė (Vytauto Didžiojo universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai,
filologija – 04 H)

doc. dr. R ūta Br ūzgien ė (Lietuvi ų literat ūros ir tautosakos institutas, humanitariniai
mokslai, filologija – 04 H)

Oponentai:
prof. habil. dr. Virginija Šlekien ė-Balsevi či ūt ė (Vilniaus pedagoginis universitetas,
humanitariniai mokslai, filologija – 04 H)

doc. dr. Džiuljeta Maskuli ūnien ė (Šiauli ų universitetas, humanitariniai mokslai,
filologija – 04 H)

Disertacija bus ginama viešame Humanitarini ų moksl ų krypties tarybos pos ėdyje
2009 m. vasario 13 d. 11 val. Vytauto Didžiojo universiteto Humanitarini ų mokls ų
fakultete, Marijos Gimbutien ės auditorijoje (211 kab.).
Adresas: K. Donelai čio g. 52, LT–44244 Kaunas, Lietuva

Disertacijos santrauka išsiuntin ėta 2009 m. sausio 12 d.
Disertacij ą galima perži ūr ėti Lietuvos nacionalin ėje Martyno Mažvydo bibliotekoje,
taip pat Vytauto Didžiojo universiteto ir Lietuvi ų literat ūros ir tautosakos instituto
bibliotekose.
INTRODUCTION

The Urgency of the Problem. Positivism is a philosophical system and a
worldview which defined almost the entire middle and end of the nineteenth century in
the spiritual and cultural life of Western Europe. It reached Lithuania through Russian
and Polish universities where Lithuanian students were studying. This worldview had
already been interpreted and modified to fit local conditions, so it was not difficult to
adjust to the cultural conditions of Lithuania, especially from the Polish interpretation.
However, while in Poland positivist concepts, which had been introduced by Auguste
Comte, and popularised by Herbert Spencer and his other followers, were being were
being analysed and discussed among the intelligentsia, and while separate positivist
schools were being created, in Lithuania, positivism was realised not in philosophical
writings, but indirectly in publicistic writings, in fictional literature and its criticism, and
in popular science. The active political positivist slogan in Czarist Russia “work for the
people / the homeland” (or for “the homeland / the people”) was not entwined in
academic interpretation, but interpreted in the more narrow practical sense, and
crystallised as what was called “practical” (or “everyday”) positivism. The attention of
the cultural worker was first directed to national literature and the creation of theatres,
so the field of philosophy, or at least the question of philosophical interpretation was
somewhat neglected. Lithuanian Positivism, not having a philosophic foundation and
maturing sporadically without any firm guidance, often (especially between the wars)
gave rise to the dilemma of the concept of other, both when speaking about separate
authors, and in general about Lithuanian positivism. In post-war Lithuania, positivism
was interpreted as a liberal bourgeois philosophy, so its analysis was pushed to the
fringes of cultural studies.
Because of these aforementioned conditions, which were not conducive to the
study of positivism, the term positivism was not used, unless as a reference, or as part of
a broader category. Even today, there have been no separate studies or monographs
published, which were dedicated to Lithuanian positivism. This dissertation will attempt
to fill that gap in the study of Lithuanian literature.
This dissertation will attempt to present the foundations of the positivist
philosophy and worldview. It will also attempt to show the spread of Lithuanian
positivism in the context of the dominant positivism of Russia and Poland, and to
thoroughly examine the exploration and interpretation of positivism in the mind of
5Lithuanian fictional literary criticism. This study raises the question as to whether one
can in general speak of the adoption of certain models of literature from didactic
literature to positivist literature. Aside from discussing different time periods and
different literary styles of the nineteenth century (the beginning of Lithuanian didactic
literature, while the Lithuanian Cultural Renaissance was still in its embryonic stage;
the maturation of didactic literature and the beginning of the Lithuanian Cultural
Renaissance; and positivist literature as well as Lithuania's Cultural Renaissance in full
force) this work also discusses the pieces having the characteristics of the positivist
literature written during the prohibition of the press. The work will also attempt to
explain what positivist personalities were significant during the second half of the
nineteenth century, and to what professional and social groups these people belonged,
along with reconstructing their aesthetic positivist program.
The Exploration of the Problem. There have been many references by various
literary critics to positivism, or more specifically, to the effects of positivism on the
Lithuanian writers during the second half of the nineteenth century, but most of these
have been only brief mentions. The term Positivism began being used more widely with
1Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, after beginning the discussion (especially during the inter-
war period) about the influence of Polish writers on Vincas Kudirka. The positivist
worldview, until today, has been mostly associated with the social activism of Kudirka,
and with his publicistic writings. Other writers are only mentioned episodically.
It would be necessary to note Janina Ž ėkait ė's monograph “Šatrijos Ragana” (The
2Witch of Shatria) , as an exception, where the author speaks of the connection between
the writer, who was a “most passionate defender of positivism,” and the utilitarian
ethics of her fictional works.
Several more theoretical works for the analysis of positivist aesthetics appeared in
the third and fourth decades of the twentieth century: Juozas Eretas's article Hippolyte
3Taine's ‘Philosophy of Art’ in the magazine, Logos , Julijonas Lind ė-Dobilas's polemic

1 Tumas-Vaižgantas Juozas [Doc. J. Tumas], „Vincas Kudirka – Vincas Kapsas“ // Varpas (Vinco
Kudirkos jubil ėjinis numeris), 1924, lapkritis, p. 3–44.
2 Ž ėkait ė Janina, Šatrijos Ragana, Vilnius: Vaga, 1984.
3 Eretas Juozas [Dr. J. Eretas], „Hippolyte’o Taine’o ‘Meno Filosofija’“ // Logos, 1929, Nr. 1, Kaunas,
p. 17–56.
6 4study “Has Taine Grown Old?” as well as published translations in to the Lithuanian
5language of Hippolyte Taine's Philosophy of Art .
More attention was given to the beginning of the spread of positivism in Lithuania
6 7 8 9(Juozas Lebionka ; Bronius Genzelis ; Leonas Mulevi čius ; and Jerzy Ochma ński ), and
there were attempts to distinguish separate positivist groups of writers (Vincas
10 11 12Mykolaitis-Putinas ; Juozas Girdzijauskas ; and Jerzy Ochma ński ).
The only broader discussion of the question of positivism in Lithuania was
13Algimantas Radzevi čius's polemic reaction to the accurate and concise description of
14positivism in Vytautas Vanagas's study on realism in Lithuanian literature.
Until now there has not been even one thorough study of the question of
positivism in Lithuanian literature. This dissertation will seek to thoroughly analyse and
categorise individual statements and insights about the positivist aesthetic worldview, as
well as to examine in depth an aspect of the Lithuanian literature of the second half of
the nineteenth century, that until now has not been properly analysed – the positivist
worldview.
The Research Object, Objective and Tasks, Methodology. While an extensive
positivist life philosophy was never fully formulated, it would be possible to construct
one based on the statements and ideas found throughout the publicistic writings of
literary and cultural workers, critical works, sociological works, and in the case of this
analysis – works of fictional literature. The purpose and aims of this study are to
determine whether one can speak of the adoption of literary models from didactic
literature, and to find elements and tendencies of positivism in Lithuanian literature, as
well as to restore the positivist aesthetic program, which would help answer the

4 Lind ė-Dobilas Julijonas [J. Dobilas], Ar paseno T ėnas? (Jo „Meno filosofijos“ kritika), „Dirvos“ B-v ės
Spaustuv ė Mariampol ėje, 1927.
5 Taine Hippolyte, Meno filosofija, Kaunas: Švietimo m-jos knyg ų leidimo komisija, 1938–1940.
6 Lebionka Juozas, Vincas Kudirka (ideologijos ir k ūrybos bruožai), Disertacija filologijos moksl ų
kandidato laipsniui įgyti, Vilnius, 1959.
7 Genzelis Bronius, „Pozityvizmas“ // Bronius Genzelis, Lietuvos filosofijos istorijos bruožai,
Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedij ų leidybos institutas, 1997, p. 139–144.
8 Mulevi čius Leonas, „Nacionalinio jud ėjimo socialin ė-ekonomin ė ir politin ė programa“ // Lietuvi ų
nacionalinio išsivadavimo jud ėjimas: (ligi 1904 met ų), Vilnius: Mokslas, 1987, p. 171–216.
9 Ochma ński Jerzy, Litewski ruch narodowo-kulturalny w XIX wieku (Prace Bia łostockiego towarzystwa
naukowego, Nr. 5), Bia łystok / Warszawa: Pa ństwowe wydawnictwo naukowe, 1965.
10 Mykolaitis-Putinas Vincas, Naujoji lietuvi ų literat ūra, I tomas, Kaunas: Humanitarini ų moksl ų
fakulteto leidinys, 1936.
11 Girdzijauskas Juozas, „Vyskupas Motiejus Valan čius tautos gyvenime ir kult ūroje“ // Motiejus
Valan čius. Raštai, I tomas, Vilnius: Lietuvi ų literat ūros ir tautosakos institutas, 2001, p. XV–XVI.
12 Ochma ński Jerzy, ten pat.
13 Radzevi čius Algimantas, Literat ūros kryptis, Vilnius: Mokslas, 1990.
14 Vanagas Vytautas, Realizmas lietuvi ų literat ūroje, Vilnius: Vaga, 1978.
7question as to whether it is actually possible to speak of Lithuanian positivist literature
as a separate category / time period, or whether one can only speak of literature having
some of the traits usually characteristic of positivist literature. The object of this work is
fictional literature, published in separate volumes and publications or in the press,
which appeared during the middle of the nineteenth century, and the beginning of its
second half, which was the end of the didactic epoch in Lithuanian literature, and at the
beginning of the 20th century, by which time utilitarian literary critique was already in
style (“art for art's sake”). The writings of Mikalojus Akelaitis also fall into this
dissertation's field of study, even though this author represents an earlier era (closer to
the beginning of Lithuania's didactic prose epoch), since traces of the positivist
worldview can be found in his works. This dissertation will examine the foundations of
positivist philosophy, as well as the spread and development of positivism in Lithuania's
neighbouring countries, Russia and Poland, and the possible influences they may have
had on each other. More attention is given to the expression and connectios between the
triumvirate of periodical publications, Varpas (The Bell, 1889–1905), Ūkininkas (The
Farmer, 1890–1905) and T ėvyn ės Sargas (The Homeland Guard, 1896–1904), as the
epicentre of the positivist epoch. The fictional literature published in these periodical
publications, as well as their “calendar literature” sections, any supplementary sections,
and separate publications, are analysed in terms of their positivist worldview.
Somewhat less attention is given to poetry which is “not thankful to the positivist
mindset,” and to translated literature, in which the positivist worldview is only vaguely
present, and which did not have a greater influence on the further development of the
positivist aesthetic in Lithuanian literature.
The greatest difficulty in writing this dissertation has been the vast quantities of
materials needing to be systemised, and the complete lack of thorough general studies,
which examine the connections between Lithuanian fictional literature, and positivist
ideas.
Another problem is the lack of translation of (founder of positivism) Comte's
works into other languages for those literary analysts unable to read French.
Paradoxically, in Poland, where positivism grew into a societal worldview and became
an inseparable part of cultural history in the second half of the nineteenth century, the
first, and, it would seem, the only translation into the Polish language of Comte's
Discours sur l’esprit positif (A General View of Positivism) into the Polish language
(Rozprawa o duchu filozofji pozytywnej) was as late as 1936. One of the reasons for this
8 lack of translation into the Polish language was that at that time, high class Polish
society spoke French quite well, and estate-owners in Lithuania studied it as well. Only
one lecture of the Cours de philosophie positive (Course in Positivist Philosophy) was
translated into Lithuanian. Not only translators, but Comte's followers and analysts of
positivism as well, often complained about the difficulty of Comte's style and his long,
complicated paragraphs. As Ernest Renan's well-known aphorism goes, Comte, in many
places repeated with poor style, what Descartes, d'Alambert and Laplace had already
said eloquently. Perhaps this is partly because some of Comte's English translations are
described as “freely translated” or “condensed.”
There is also no methodology which more clearly evaluates the relationship
between literature and philosophy. One can, however, speak of causal, typological
connections between philosophy and literature, the analysis of which would allow one
to draw parallels between literature, and the societal processes of an epoch.
Scientific Novelty of the Research. This dissertation about the spread of
positivism in the prose from the end of the nineteenth century is the first of its kind done
in Lithuanian literary analysis. The work uses the research of Lithuanian and foreign
literary analysts, as well as the author's own collected materials. The commentaries,
critical analyses, hypotheses and conclusions are the author's own work. This study
could be important to the study of Lithuanian literature and cultural history, as a new
and authentic view of the Lithuanian literature of the second half of the nineteenth
century.
The Structure of this Dissertation. This dissertation is comprised of an
introduction, three parts, a conclusion, and various appendices (source and literature
lists).
The first part discusses the foundational postulates of the positivist philosophy
and aesthetic, and introduces the early positivist philosophical doctrine, such as that of
Comte) as well as the principles of the use of positivist methodology in the study of the
humanities (Taine). The second part discusses the spread of positivism, and its
interpretation in Poland, Russia, and Lithuania. The third part devotes equal attention to:
a) analysing the possibility of the adoption of literary models from didactic literature b)
discussing the personalities of positivist literature, and their professional / social groups,
and reconstructing the aesthetic positivist program of these literary characters.

9I. POSITIVIST PHILOSOPHY AND AESTHETICS

The term “positivism” denotes a great portion of the cultural and spiritual life of
nineteenth century Europe.
The positivist worldview, which evolved from Auguste Comte's philosophical
doctrine at the beginning of the century represented a living and progressive trend in
societal thought. This philosophical system was especially appropriate for the spirit of
the century – dynamic, full of technological progress, intensive economic and cultural
development, and intensified intercontinental communication.
The positivist philosophy was applied to the dynamic development in Europe, and
continued to spread throughout the century, unlike other modernist philosophical trends,
never completely showing its full potential and undergoing various stages. The term
“positivism” and the positivist philosophical system were created by the French
philosopher and sociologist, Comte. For the first time in the history of philosophy, he
analysed the human mind “not with logical or epistemological methodology, but from a
15historical point of view.” Comte, a scientist who specialised in mathematics, physics
and astronomy, first publicised his positivist philosophical foundations in 1826. In
1842, he finished his important six volume work, Cours de philosophie positive (A
Course in Positivist Philosophy). Later, Comte added to his philosophical legacy with
his studies; Systeme de politique positive (The Positivist system of Politics) and Systeme
de logique positive (The Positivist System of Logic). In these works he developed the
positivist philosophical methods and ideas, demanding scholastic and social reform
based on the natural sciences, and advocating the creation of a method that would allow
people to become further acquainted with positivist knowledge.
How then, according to the positivists, is society changing, and how does it need
to change? Because one of the primary characteristics of societal expression, according
to Comte, is the growth and development of individuals and all of society, people,
having seen the implausibility of their metaphysical images, must reject them, and “[...]
take it upon themselves to build real human relationships, whose essence is no longer
self-serving, nor is it serving an idea, but true respect for another person as one respects
ones self. A universal love for all of humanity should evolve from these

15 Laskien ė Skaist ė, „Ogiustas Kontas – sociologijos t ėvas“ // Socialiniai mokslai. Sociologija, 1997,
Nr. 1 (10), Kaunas: Technologija, p. 15.
10