Vincas Kreve-Mickevicius
Vincas Mickevičius better known by his pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius, was a Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

n writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

, poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, novelist, playwright
A playwright, also called a dramatist, is a person who writes plays.The term is not a variant spelling of "playwrite", but something quite distinct: the word wright is an archaic English term for a craftsman or builder...

 and philologist. He is also known as Vincas Krėvė, the shortened name he used in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...



Vincas Mickevičius was born to a family of peasant farmers on October 19, 1882, in the village of Subartonys
Subartonys is a village in Varėna district municipality, in Alytus County, in southeastern Lithuania. According to the 2001 census, the village had a population of 75 people.-Famous people:* Jan Aleksander Karłowicz – etnograf...

 in Dzūkija
Dzūkija or Dainava is one of five ethnographic regions of Lithuania. Dzūkija is a cultural region defined by traditional lifestyles and dialects of the local Lithuanian population and has never been defined as a political or administrative unit...

 ethnographic region
Regions of Lithuania
Lithuania can be divided into historical and cultural regions . The exact borders are not fully clear, as the regions are not official political or administrative units. They are delimited by culture, such as country traditions, traditional lifestyle, songs, tales, etc. To some extent regions...

 of Lithuania. His family was called Krėvė by the local villagers, name that he later used for his pen name. The customs and traditions of his native district were a constant source of the inspiration for his literary work.

In 1898, he became a student for the Roman Catholic priesthood at the Vilnius Seminary, but in 1900 he was expelled from the seminary. In 1904, he enrolled the University of Kiev
Kiev University
Taras Shevchenko University or officially the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv , colloquially known in Ukrainian as KNU is located in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It is the third oldest university in Ukraine after the University of Lviv and Kharkiv University. Currently, its structure...

. However, a year later, the university was temporarily closed due to the revolutionary conditions in the Russian Empire, and Krėvė-Mickevičius, unwilling to interrupt his studies, entered the University of Lviv
Lviv University
The Lviv University or officially the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv is the oldest continuously operating university in Ukraine...

, in Galicia, which was at the time part of the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, and in 1908, he received his doctorate in philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

. That same year, the University of Kiev awarded him a gold medal for his thesis on the original home of the Indo-Europeans
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

. In 1913, the University of Kiev awarded him the degree of Master of Comparative Linguistics
Comparative linguistics
Comparative linguistics is a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish their historical relatedness....

 for his dissertation on the origin of the names Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

and Pratjekabuddha.

In 1909, Krėvė-Mickevičius became a high school teacher in the city of Baku
Baku , sometimes spelled as Baki or Bakou, is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city consists of two principal...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

. Three years later he assisted in founding the People's University of Baku, and delivered lectures there.

Lithuania achieved independence in 1918, and a year later, Krėvė-Mickevičius became Lithuanian Consul in Azerbaijan. In 1920, he returned to Lithuania, and settled in Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

, which at the time was the temporary capital
Temporary capital
A temporary capital or a provisional capital is a city or town chosen by a government as an interim base of operations due to some difficulty in retaining or establishing control of a different metropolitan area...


When the University of Lithuania was founded in 1922, Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius became professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and remained there as part of the faculty for the following two decades.

His first attempts on writing came at the age fifteen, at first using Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 and Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 languages; however, after 1902, he wrote in Lithuanian
Lithuanian language
Lithuanian is the official state language of Lithuania and is recognized as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.96 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 170,000 abroad. Lithuanian is a Baltic language, closely related to Latvian, although they...

. The first volume of his collected works was published in 1921, at which time he was already a well-known and respected figure, serving as editor of several academic and literary periodicals.

On 24 June 1940, he was appointed Prime Minister of Lithuania by acting president Justas Paleckis
Justas Paleckis
Justas Paleckis was a Lithuanian journalist and politician. He was acting president of Lithuania after the Soviet invasion while Lithuania was still ostensibly independent, in office from June 17 – August 3, 1940....

. He headed a so-called "People's Government of Lithuania" that had been formed in the wake of a Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 invasion of Lithuania. This government was little more than a rubber stamp for the Soviet takeover of Lithuania. On July 1 of 1940 he, together with some other communists, visited Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

 (prime minister of the USSR) and asked for full annexation of Lithuania into the USSR (this visit was later used as the pretext for that de jure annexation, although occupation and the de facto annexation happened before that). On returning, he offered his resignation, which was not accepted at the moment.

After the start of the Nazi occupation of Lithuania started in 1941, and closing of higher educational institutions in 1943, Krėvė-Mickevičius went into hiding. After the Soviet forces reoccupied Lithuania in 1944, he fled the country and settled in a displaced persons camp at Glasenbach, near Salzburg
-Population development:In 1935, the population significantly increased when Salzburg absorbed adjacent municipalities. After World War II, numerous refugees found a new home in the city. New residential space was created for American soldiers of the postwar Occupation, and could be used for...

, Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. There, he taught at the local camp's high school. In 1947, the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...

 extended an invitation to join its faculty. There, he served as an Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures till 1953, year in which he retired. On July 17, 1954, Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius died in Broomall, Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, USA.

He was considered as a candidate to Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 in Literature


The literary production of Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius is wide and varied. It included historical dramas, collections of folklore, short stories and sketches of village life, novels on contemporary problems, and tales based on oriental themes. At his death he was engaged on a major work entitled Sons of Heaven and Earth, which defies classification. It is written partly as drama and partly as a narration; its subjects are biblical with the action taking place in Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 at the beginning of the Christian era. His work filled with a romantic impulse, drawing attention to rural life and oriental themes, is balanced with realistic narration and description. His writing is characterized by an unusually large vocabulary with remarkable purity. Some scholars sustain that Lithuanian language acquired a range of expression through his works only rivaled by that of Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...



  • Šarūnas, Dainavos kunigaikštis (Šarūnas, Duke of Dainava), 1911
  • Dainavos šalies senų žmonių padavimai (Old people's myths from the land of Dainava), 1912
  • Žentas (Son-in-law), 1922
  • 'Šiaudinėj pastogėj (Under the thatched roof), 1922
  • Skirgaila (Skirgaila), 1922
  • Dainavos krašto liaudies dainos (Folk Songs of Dainava Region), 1924
  • Likimo keliais (Along the Paths of Destiny), 1926-1929
  • Rytų pasakos (Tales of the Orient), 1930
  • Sparnuočiai liaudies padavimuose (Winged creatures in the folklore myths), 1933
  • Karaliaus Mindaugo mirtis (The death of King Mindaugas
    Mindaugas was the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania and the only King of Lithuania. Little is known of his origins, early life, or rise to power; he is mentioned in a 1219 treaty as an elder duke, and in 1236 as the leader of all the Lithuanians...

    ), 1935
  • Patarlės ir priežodžiai, 1934-37
  • Raganius (He-witch), 1939
  • Miglose (In the mists), 1940
  • Dangaus ir žemės sūnūs (Sons of Heaven and Earth), 1949

External links

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