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The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania
The Ministry of Culture
of the Republic of Lithuania

The Lithuanian Media Support Foundation



UNESCO Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Chair at Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts

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Vilnius University "Autumn of Philology"


When philology was a speciality of men…

Yes, 25 years ago philology was a speciality of men. Now they are about 40 years of age. Namely that was them who have started the tradition of the festival “The Autumn of Philology”. The most outstanding ones between them are Vytautas V. Landsbergis and Romas Lileikis. Romas Lileikis became the festivals centre with his ideas, style and soul. Exactly here V. V. Landsbergis started reading his “The stories of Brown-nose”.

Remembering those times one of the organizers of the Autumn of Philology Kęstutis Urba has said that the first idea to organize the festival had emerged from the wish to read his works for contemporaries. Shortly after that, players, singers and compositors joined them as well. “That was a peculiar ambition to rise the prestige of philology and to outrival the Days of Physicists” , - said K. Urba with nostalgia.

At that time the Autumn of Philology lasted four Fridays. It started at the end of October or at the beginning of November. There were at least three reading evenings, and the festival ended with the evening of laureates. The Autumn of Philology used to take place in large rooms with laconic scenography. For example, once R. Lileikis bethinked to lean his head on the wall while reading, according to K. Urba. Every year the festival had its plot, motive and was literally framed.

The Autumn of Philology was an event which united the Philology Faculty of Vilnius University. It was not forced. All the poets and prosaists, who are 40 years old now and who studied in Vilnius University took their parts in the event in one way or another. This was the place there R. Lileikis song “The Dreamer”, which now is quite trite by radio stations, was played for the first time. This song reflected the very spirit of philology then. According to K. Urba, the song was the emblem of the festival.

K. Urba regretted about the present men of the Philology Faculty who are not very interested in the organizing of the Autumn of Philology and almost do not contribute in it.

In 2001 and 2002 women organized the festival. One of them, present graduate student of Vilnius University Inga Strungytė remembered that at that time a lot of advertisement were announcing the coming festival. They were posted in the other faculties, Vilnius Pedagogical University and the hostels. The participants were asked to bring or send their works for organizers. The Lithuanian Literary Cathedral of Vilnius University also actively helped to organize the Autumn of Philology. According to I. Strungytė the organizers especially tried to spread the festival beyond the limits of Vilnius University. In 2002 I. Strungytė and her fellows introduced an innovation – one-day creative workshops in the Autumn of Philology. There were five workshops: poetry, prose, drama, rethorica and fine art workshops. Famous people - R. Koženiauskienė, M. Ivaškevičius, A. Martišiūtė, K. Platelis, A. A. Jonynas, B. Speičytė and others helped to organize the workshops. The winners of the workshops were awarded with books issued by the big publishing-houses. Once the Autumn of Philology workshops looked like the capitals balance against the creative workshops of the Druskininkai Poetry Fall. Talking about the art value of the works presented during the Autumn of Philology I. Strungytė was cautious: “It is hard to evaluate the works of young artist categorically. There were various works. But it is clear that at that time there was no lack of those who created and those who wanted to read”. And there was no lack of those who were interested in the art value. Probably poet Marcelijus Martinaitis showed the most intensive interest in the works of the Autumn of Philology, and he also read them all. The brightest winners of those years  Autumns of Philology were Lukas Miknevičius and Domantas Razauskas.

In 2001 the jazz ensemble of the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy took part in the Autumn of Philology. Remigijus Audiejaitis, a student of English philology, also played jazz and improvised. Traditionally Aistė Smilgevičiūtė, who at that time was studying classical philology, was used to be invited to the readings. In brief, every participant shared his or her soul into the festival.

Evaluating the last years Autumn of Philology, which took place not in autumn but in winter because of the small number of participants, I. Strungytė regretted that a nice tradition of creative workshops had ended. K. Urba even resented about the vulgarity of some students work.

One of the organizers of this years festival the Autumn of Philology, the head of the students agency of of the Faculty of Philology of Vilnius University Veronika Senkute revealed that the festival would last only one day and its organizers have no intention to match the earlier Autumns of Philology. “The event will not be grandiose. There will be just one poetry and prose reading evening. Only several students are interested in the festival, thus it is hard to gather a proper number of participants” – complained V. Senkutė. According V. Senkutė, drama works have already lost their popularity between students.

But this year the Autumn of Philology will be held in autumn, not in winter. The festival is supposed to take place in November 16. All who are interested will found information in the web site www.filfsa.lt. The information for those who would like to take part in the event is already placed there.

Ramūnas Čičelis


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