The Traits of Lithuanian Consciousness in the Course of Cultural Modernization: Antanas Škėma’s “Baltoji Drobulė”

Dainius Genys (Vytautas Magnus University)

From the point of view of cultural sociology, literature reflects the expressions of our being, and it allows us to know ourselves better. Lithuania’s cultural modernization was forced out of its groove after the Soviets brutally occupied the country and imposed one-dimensional social realism. The occupation inevitably meant the separation of the Lithuanian society from its self-evident and meaningful culture. It seems that various cultural researches allow us to better understand the consequences of this circumstance. However, there is a great lack of sociological understanding, how all this affected our mental structure, that deep twist of the Lithuanian character, which to a large extent determines our humanity even today.

Probably the most prominent Lithuanian sociologist Vytautas Kavolis linked his cultural sociology insights directly with literature. According to him, if the literature is analyzed as a set of symbols and meanings that allows us to recognize the changing public awareness, its analysis from the point of view of cultural sociology serves as a valuable resource helping to better understand the complex interaction of literature and culture in Lithuania and shedding light on the social dynamics that shape the creation of literature and its significance in the country’s cultural landscape. Accordingly, the academic intrigue of this presentation is to discuss the modernization of culture and the features of Eastern and Western civilizations that can be recognized in it from a sociological point of view by examining Antanas Škėma’s “White Shroud.”