Life Writing Trajectories in Post-1989 Eastern Europe

Deportation, Memory and the Self in Dalia Grinkevičiūtė’s Memoirs A Stolen Youth, A Stolen Homeland and Lithuanians by the Laptev Sea

  • Audrone Raskauskiene Vytautas Magnus University
Keywords: deportation, autobiographical writing, memoirs, narrative, self,

Abstract

The present discussion adresses the issue of deportation, displacement, memory and the self in Dalia Grinkevičiūtė’s Lietuviai prie Laptevų jūros: Atsiminimai, miniatiūros, laiškai, written in 1949–50, first published in 1997 and in 2002 translated as A Stolen Youth, a Stolen Homeland, and in the second version of the memoirs, Lietuviai prie Laptevų jūros, written in 1974, in 1990 translated as Lithuanians by the Laptev Sea. At the age of fourteen, Dalia Grinkevičiūtė (1927-1987) was deported from Lithuania to Siberia during the mass deportations of 1941 and spent almost 10 years in Yakut Republic. Considering Grinkevičiūtė’s life experience writing memoirs may be understood as a means of composing or re-creating the self. At the same time, this re-creating of the self through narrative becomes a healing process to that wounded by the tragic experiences of deportation and exile. If we refer to Lacan, relating self to the others brings a healing effect. According to such scholars as Kohut, Hartmann, Modell, and Kernberg, a sense of self depends on the negotiations of self defined against and in relation to others, where the “other” takes the form of an object of various emotions. For many of these scholars, creativity, especially writing, performs the function of restoring or re-creating a sense of self and re-negotiating self-object relations. The idea of writing as re-creation of the self, can be related to autobiographical writing where this is quite explicit.

Author Biography

Audrone Raskauskiene, Vytautas Magnus University

Audrone Raškauskiene holds Diploma with Honours from Vilnius University (1986), Master of Arts degree from Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania (1993), and Doctor of Philology degree from Warsaw University, Poland (2001). She is a lecturer at the Department of English Philology at Vytautas Magnus University. Raškauskiene has been awarded a number of scholarships and has conducted research at California State University, Northridge (1992), the University of Edinburgh (1997), the University of Aberystwyth (1999), and at the University of California, Los Angeles and C.G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles (2003–2006). In 2003–2006 she studied Gestalt therapy at Pacific Gestalt Institute in Los Angeles. Her research areas include Gothic Literature, eighteenth century British literature, life writing, women’s literature, academic writing, creative writing, Jungian literary criticism, translation, ecocriticism, and Gestalt therapy. She has published a number scholarly articles in Lithuania and abroad, and participated in many international conferences with presentations.

Published
2014-03-21
Section
Life Writing Trajectories in Post-1989 Eastern Europe