Latvian literature

Latvian Literature

Latvian literature

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Latvian literature refers to the body of works written by Latvian authors.


Early Latvian literature
Before there was a written Latvian language, traditions were passed along in folk songs that are still preserved. Literature in Latvia is relatively new, having started in the nineteenth century.The starting point of written Latvian Literature was the book Songs by Juris Alunans, where he wanted to show that deep and noble feelings can also be expressed in Latvian, which the Baltic-German Barons regarded as a peasant tongue. This volume of poetry was published in 1856, the same year as Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleur du Mal, the starting point of European modernism in poetry.The national epic, Lāčplēsis, published in 1888 was written by Andrejs Pumpurs.

In the beginning of 20th. century, mainly through the many German and Russian connections, Latvian literature had diverging movements of symbolism, decadence, and politically – socialism, Marxism, these movements went underground after the defeat of the largest national Latvian uprising the 1905 revolution – and the revenge from the tsarist regime was severe, leading to the first emigration of intellectuals from Latvia.

Rainis was a poet, playwright, translator, and politician at the turn of the century; his classic plays "Fire and Night" (, 1905) and "Indulis and Ārija" (, 1911) had a profound influence on the literary Latvian language, and the ethnic symbolism he employed in his...
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