Review by Magdalena Garbacik-Balakowicz

2023. augusztus 24. § 0 hozzászólás


Briedis, Laimonas. Vilnius: City of Strangers. Vilnius: Baltos lankos, 2021.

Vilnius: City of Strangers was first published in 2009, with translations into Lithuanian, German, Russian, and Portuguese published to date. The English edition was re-published in 2021. The year 2023, when Vilnius, one of Europe’s most culturally complex capitals, celebrates the 700th anniversary of the city’s founding, is a good occasion to return to Briedis’s book. Although Vilnius: City of Strangers focuses on historical documents, one should not think of this book as research discussing the history of Vilnius in a traditional way. The book is a contribution to the field of cultural geography. Briedis chose to tell the story of Vilnius from the perspective of strangers, those who came to Vilnius knowing little or nothing about it, more out of forced circumstances than of their own curiosity. Vilnius: City of Strangers researches travelogues on Vilnius written over the last seven centuries. Their authors are scholars, politicians, writers, and soldiers, who spent a longer or shorter period of time, sometimes literally only a few days, in Vilnius. The authors of these travelogues differ in the languages they speak, their background, and social status. They also differ in how they experienced Vilnius. For some, it was a positive contact, for others a negative one.
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