Abstract

The thesis focuses on the life and work of the major Latvian author Aspazija (pseudonym of Elza Rozenberga 1865-1943). Aspazija's most active years - from 1890 to 1905 - correspond to a crucial period in Latvian history during which Latvians experienced synchronously the diachronic unfolding - romanticism, nationalism, socialism - of a tumultuous nineteenth century. This synchrony endowed these movements with a singularity and unity which distinguished them from their European counterparts. The thesis traces the contours of the ethos of revolutionary romanticism in Latvia, where aspirations to freedom, equality and justice were sublimated into an ideal of self-affirmation through language, culture, noble passion and exalted utopianism. The thesis argues that the idealistic impulse and oppositional nature of revolutionary romanticism served as a force behind both the socialist/nationalist strivings of 1905 and the authoritarian call for unity in 1934, and analyzes why the romantic revolutionary response was an instinctive, familiar reflex for Latvians

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