History 1

Avia FL 3

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Equally important for facilitating a cross-cultural dialogue have been those larger topographic interfaces (crossroads, borderlands, multiethnic areas, federations of states) that cut across national boundaries, rendering them permeable to the flow of transnational literary messages. The articles in Section 2 on “Regional Sites of Cultural Hybridization” suggest that regionalism played an important counterbalancing role as the cultures of East-Central Europe went through a nation-building phase, both in the nineteenth century and after World War I.

After the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was formed, the city found itself in the East of it and played the role of the bulwark of the Catholic civilization at the border of the Russian plains. From 1795 to 1915, Vilnius was close to the Western borders of Czarist Russia, being both a kind of a bridge to Western Europe and a barrier against it — a citadel of Russian imperialism in the conquered Catholic province. When the Empire collapsed and the city became part of the restored Poland, the Vilnius region happened to be its faraway Eastern periphery, squeezed between Lithuania and the Soviet Union, with weak connections to the central Polish lands.

Gediminas’s letters, which can be considered the first Lithuanian literary monuments, were written in Latin. The chronicles that preserved the pagan legends, including the myth of the founding of Vilnius, were recorded in an East Slavic written idiom that is sometimes called an early stage of the Belorussian language. The same language was used to write down the Lithuanian Statute, the codex of state laws. The Lithuanian language, which belongs to a different language branch and is unintelligible for Slavs, did not exist in written form for a long time.

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