Problems of Comparative Research into Lithuanian and Latvian Collective Memory: The Concepts of Memory of the Balts and of Baltic Regional Memory

  • Viktorija Jonkutė
Keywords: Latvians, Balts, Baltics, regional identity, collective memory


The present article deals with the concepts of regional collective memory and intercultural identity actualized in Lithuanian and Latvian comparative cultural studies. The phenomena of memory of the Baltic region (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) and memory of the Balts (Lithuanians, Latvians), their differences and intersections are briefly discussed in the research part. The former is defined as a geopolitical regional construction, and the latter as a result of traditional common ethnocultural and ethnolinguistic development of two Baltic nations. Some examples of the usage of the term Baltic in literature and literary studies highlight the problems of the concept of regional memory and cases of newly interpreted or unsystematically used terminology. Lithuanian translations of the title of the poems Baltijas eleģijas (The Baltic Elegies) by Ivars Ivasks, Am Baltischen Meer (The Baltic Sea) by Durs Grünbein, or the essay Bałtowie (The Balts) by Czesław Miłosz could stand as examples. Developing the concept and the research field of Baltic (Latvians and Lithuanians) memory, several possible perspectives of comparative studies of Lithuanian and Latvian collective memory are suggested. Memories of exile and migration, the areas of the Lithuanian-Latvian border, the capital cities Riga and Vilnius, the periods of independence and between the wars, and the Holocaust could be taken as places of memory revealing historiographical parallels.