Dalios Dilytės monografija užpildė net dvi lietuvių literatūros istorijos moksle iki šiol žiojėjusias spragas: pateikė lietuvių kalba gana išsamų veikalą apie pasakėčios žanro ištakas antikoje, jo raidą ir plėtotę Vakarų Europos literatūrose nuo viduramžių iki Švietimo epochos pabaigos; ir pirmoji – neįtikėtina, pradėjus švęsti 300-ąsias poeto gimimo metines, bet tiesa! – ėmėsi nuosekliai ir išsamiai analizuoti Kristijono Donelaičio pasakėčias. Kad ir viena, ir kita lietuvių kultūrai buvo labai reikalinga, esu tikra, niekas nesiimtų ginčytis.
There are three prefaces in Christian Gottlieb Mielcke’s (1733–1807) dictionary Littauisch-deutsches und Deutsch-littauisches Wörter-Buch (1800). The first is written by the compiler himself; the second by Daniel Jenisch (1762–1804), a Berlin theologian and linguist; and the third by Christoph Friedrich Heilsberg (1726/7–1807), a counsellor in the Königsberg Chamber of War and Domains and inspector of East Prussian schools. The ‘Friend’s Note’ (Nachschrift eines
Freundes) of the philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) is placed after all of them. It is a friendly, quite short, one-and-a-half-page commentary on the Lithuanians and their language, written in free form, and cannot be called a true preface.
The article analyses the circumstances of the appearance of Kant’s ‘Friend’s Note’ in the dictionary, and discusses the ideas expressed in it.
The practice of translating government decrees into Lithuanian and publishing them for Lithuanian speakers living in Prussia has been known since the late 16th century. It stemmed from the policy of multi-lingualism which emerged under Duke Albert, and the establishment of the Reformation in Prussia. Most Lithuanian translations of Prussian government decrees known today date from the 18th century. At that time, the best experts in the Lithuanian language were engaged in their translation and publication. After the potential of Königsberg in Lithuanian studies declined in the second half of the 18th century, efforts to concentrate these activities in the area of Prussia that was still densely inhabited by Lithuanian speakers and called Lithuania at that time, became more active. The article analyses how this change was exploited by the Mielcke family, who were active in Prussian Lithuania. Christian Gottlieb Mielcke, who held a humble cantor’s position in the remote parish of Pillkallen, initiated a discussion on the principles of the edition of Lithuanian hymnals in 1781. His brother Daniel Friedrich, the priest at Ragnit, wrote a complaint about the quality of translations of government decrees into Lithuanian in 1788. This was the beginning of a dispute that eventually involved the Mielcke family in the translation of government decrees.
The article discusses the conscious choice of Kristijonas Donelaitis to become a priest of a Lithuanian rural community and to take care of the parishers’ faith and morals. The Enlightenment-related position of the poet predetermined the expression of his poetical vocation to a great extent. By recognizing the significance of each element of the world created by the will of God, Donelaitis consciously turned his glance towards ‘minor’ things or the ‘lowest’ substances. He consciously chose to write about the most deprived, the most backward peasant-boor of the remotest Prussian periphery: about him and for him, in the declining language of the minority. One might ask whether the choice of that conservative addressee, the ‘smallest’ in the Kingdom of Prussia, did not paradoxically account for the modernity of Donelaitis‘ works in the context of the that time poetry. By the violation of the aesthetical standards of his time, Donelaitis unexpectedly forced his way into the ranks of the best poets of Europe and not only became one of them, but far surpassed them. A rural priest of a Pussian province with his weak voice and poor health, unknown to Europe, for a wink of an eye became perhaps the greatest European poet. For a wink of an eye, as Europe at the time did not learn about him. However, he remained great for us, representatives of a small, declining, and emigrating nation, and stayed with us to remind us of the true values of life.