The Book “Die Kavaliere von Illuxt”. The New Discovery for XXI Century Reader [PDF]

Valentina Taļerko
Daugavpils University, Latvia

Abstract: The article examines the historical and literary significance of the memoirs of a Baltic German about Latgale. The space between Ilukste and Daugavpils has been little studied. The data about individual estates and their owners is fragmentary. The study is a separate part of a large regional and literary study dedicated to the Baltic Germans living in the territory of Latgale and in Daugavpils region. The aims of the study are to establish a connection between the text of the book and geographical and personal realities, as well as to reveal the relationship of the Baltic Germans with the population of Latgale from a perspective of self-reflection. Understanding “myself” in the eyes of others and “others” in one’s personal perception is getting more relevant as studying these interactions on the basis of literary texts opens for understanding of the current processes in modern society. The specific tasks are to promote a national issue on the material of the given text as well as to determine a link between the memoir text and the jokes of the Baltic Germans (Pratchen), the features of which have been defined in the authorized studies.
The text is understood as an object of scientific cognition in which there are no random linguistic or substantive units. The methodology of research is based on the interpretation of a literary text as well as the synthesis of statistical analysis, immanent critique and content analysis. In the course of the study, it was possible to establish a structural and substantive link between individual episodes of the book with the Baltics jokes (Pratchen).
For the peoples who inhabited Latgale (southeastern part of Latvia) in the 18th and 19th centuries, the national issue was not decisive, especially among rural people. Difference in perception of oneself and “myself” in the eyes of others was determined by different social status: Germans are the landowners, the rest are servants and badgers. The mental character of the Baltic Germans was shaped, first and foremost, by the family upbringing and education level, commonly university. The key values were love for their native land, pride for their ancestors, honor and service to the state, and faithfulness to the word. On the basis of the life realia described in the book, it is possible to reconstruct the way of life of the people who disappeared from the map of modern Latgale.
The research is funded by the Latvian Council of Science, project “The Baltic Germans of Latgale in the context of socio-ethnic relations from the 17th till the beginning of the 20th century” project No. lzp-2020/2-0136.
Keywords: Baltic Germans, Die Kavaliere von Illuxt, geographical and personal realities, Latgale, Pratchen.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2021 = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2021
Rīga, University of Latvia, 2021. 1148 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-18-735-3