Ranking of Lithuanian literature by difficulty
We have analysed Lithuanian texts in terms of the difficulty of the vocabulary and grammar, and provide you a ranking (as well as detailed information about each work). We hope this can help you pick the right Lithuanian title to read! Choose the category of Lithuanian literature you are interested in to see the ranking:
Why choose? Well, to make our rankings a bit more balanced, we decided to split those into two: short texts / poems and books. We figured, just like in English, there is simply no fair way to compare the complexity of something like Emily Dickinson's 'I reason, earth is short' with F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby', and so there shouldn't be such a comparison in Lithuanian.
About our literary rankings
Once you choose, you will see a ranking of all the works we have analysed in terms of both grammar and vocabulary - and you will also be able to click on any particular title to see its full extensive analysis. You will also be able to click on the ranking table and re-arrange the works based on the criteria you prefer. Go to our tool's main page (or the page of any work) to learn more about the algorithms we use.
About Lithuanian literature
Lithuanian literature first appeared in around the 16th century, with the first work being a religious text by Martynas Mažvydas (now officially held to be the first printed book in Lithuanian). Further religious texts followed, such as those by Mikalojus Daukša. However, such literature was mostly present only in religious contexts up until the 18th century.
A famous poem appeared in 1818: Metai (literally: 'Year', but also translated as 'Seasons') by Kristijonas Donelaitis. The poem was written in a rural context and described nature as well as works that had to be performed by Lithuanian peasants throughout the seasons. The work is still known and widely taught in Lithuanian schools (or at least the first 20 lines of it or so) as one of the first significant works of Lithuanian literature.
The language suffered a scarcity of works throughout the 19th century, however, and that was significantly influenced by the ban of the Lithuanian language by the Russian Empire. The situation started to change after Lithuania gained independece in the early XXth century.
Some writers started publishing during the first period of independence. One of them was Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius, who wrote, most famously, historical works and plays related to Lithuanian history ('Skirgaila' being perhaps his most famous one). Jonas Biliūnas wrote mostly short stories - a career ended by the author's early death at the age of 28 (we have translated a collection of Biliūnas' stories in Interlinear). A self-taught author Žemaitė also published short stories (she later became a famous figure, being put on the 1 Litas note - the most widespread Lithuanian currency, before Litas' coins and euro came into effective.). Her stories were mostly about rural life in Lithuania, and they usually adopted a compasionate tone.
Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas wrote different kinds of literature, his most well-known work being Altorių šešėly (in English: In the Shadow of Altars, a work describing the life and struggles of a young priest - widely considered the first Modern Lithuanian novel).
Poetry also started appearing. Maironis was known as the most famous Lithuanian poet, while Salomėja Neris wrote powerful simple Lithuanian poetry about themes of love and existence. In later times, Mačernis also wrote modern existential works.
Literature further changed, and authors, ranging from Kazys Binkis (from the Four Winds movement - a form of futurism, which lated became influenced by other movements, including surrealism, dadanism, unanism and others) to Tomas Venclova (a modern Lithuanian writer, also an emigré and professor of literature at Yale University). In the early XIXst century, young authors (to take one indiscriminate example: Aistė Vilkaitė) started publishing as well, leading into a much more varied literature as well.
Other resources and languages
We suggest you also check out our literature discovery tool in languages other than Lithuanian. You can do so here:
Moreover, if you are interested in languages and literature - please have a look at our main website Interlinear Books - it will hopefully be of interest to you!