• Country in which the text is set
    Prussia (East Prussia)
  • Impact

    metai_germanKristijonas Donelaitis wrote the poem "The Seasons" while living in Tollmingkehmen, around 1765–1775. It is the first poem ever to be written in Lithuanian language and marks the beginning of professional Lithuanian literature. The poem is shaped in hexameter. "The Seasons" is composed of four parts: "Spring Joys", "Summer Toils", "Autumn Boons" and "Winter Cares". It is a realistic 18th century East Prussian Lietuvninks peasantry life image, representing the that time's daily routines, occupations, customs and ethnical characteristics (as it becomes obvious, for educational purposes). Complicated social relations and the national state of an enslaved country grow clear. Pantheistic point of view is well marked, the Sun is always in the spotlight as the main object. "The Seasons" represents the solar year. The poem involves a lot of moral didactics. The stylistic stucture emphasizes the theme as in 18th century baroque religious literature (ex. hyperbole and naturalistic vocabulary). The poem is loaded with lyrics, metaphors, personifications, analogies and hyperbole. Donelaitis was the first European writer of the age to use classical hexameter and in the poem he aligned it with tonic and metrical features of Lithuanian language. It was a unique and outstanding work compared to other literature works at that date.

    "The Seasons" by Kristijonas Donelaitis is the first professional work of Lithuanian literature and has greatly influenced any further development of Lithuanian literature. The poem's plot, structure, word-painting and language inspired many writers. The poem became a widely discussed object, arousing the interest of specialists in literature, culturology, mythology, sociology, filosophy and many other subjects. In 1977, the UNESCO included the poem "METAI" ("The Seasons") in the Library of European Literature Masterpieces.

  • Balticness

    Kristijonas Donelaitis is an exceptional artist and talented writer who lived in Prussia, wrote in Lithuanian and incited the community of Lietuvninks (Prussian Lithuanians) to stick to their native language, culture and customs.

    "The Seasons" is a unique piece covering 18th century peasantry life of East Prussia and a great example of that time's Lithuanian language.

    Erika Drungyte


  • Bibliographic information

    Pavasario linksmybės. - Tilsit, 1891.

    Rasztai. „Garso Amerikos lietuvių" spaustuvė, 1897.

    Raštai. – Vilnius, M. Kuktos spaustuvė, 1909.

    Metai. - Kaunas, LTSR Švietimo ministerijos knygų leidykla, 1940.

    Metai. - Kaunas, Valstybinė leidykla, 1941.

    Metai ir pasakėčios. - Kaunas, Valstybinė grožinės literatūros leidykla, 1945.

    Lakštingala. Iš „Pavasario linksmybių". - Vilnius, Valstybinė grožinės literatūros leidykla. 1949.

    Raštai. – Kaunas, Valstybinė grožinės literatūros leidykla 1950.

    Metai. - Pasakėčios. - Kaunas, Valstybinė grožinės literatūros leidykla, 1956.

    Metai. - Vilnius, „Vaga", 1966.

  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
    English 1967 N. Rastenis
    English 1985 P. Tampest
    German 1818 Ludwig Rhesa (Rėza)
    German 1869 G. H. F. Nesselmann
    German 1894 Ludwig Passarge
    German 1966 Hermann Buddensieg
    Latvian 1963 P. Kalva
    Polish 1933 K. Pietkiewicz
    Polish 1982 Z. Lawrynowicz
    Russian 1946 D. Brodsky
    Swedish 1991 Lennart Kjellberg
  • Year of first publication
  • Place of first publication

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