Culture and Customs of the Baltic States

Culture and Customs of the Baltic States

by Kevin C. O'Connor
     
 

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The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are thriving after hundreds of years of German colonization, numerous wars of conquest, and demographic Russification. Their cultures have survived, perhaps through a conscious effort to sustain many of their most ancient customs and traditions. Though the Baltic States are responding to modern and postmodern

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Overview

The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are thriving after hundreds of years of German colonization, numerous wars of conquest, and demographic Russification. Their cultures have survived, perhaps through a conscious effort to sustain many of their most ancient customs and traditions. Though the Baltic States are responding to modern and postmodern international trends, contemporary developments in the region's cultural life are part of an ongoing conversation about the way in which the Balts understand their histories, destinies, and national identities. This timely overview of the reemerging states portrays the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians as they see themselves—through a historical lens.

The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are thriving after hundreds of years of German colonization, numerous wars of conquest, and demographic Russification. Their cultures have survived, perhaps through a conscious effort to sustain many of their most ancient customs and traditions. Though the Baltic States are responding to modern and postmodern international trends, contemporary developments in the region's cultural life are part of an ongoing conversation about the way in which the Balts understand their own histories, destines, and national identities. This timely overview of the reemerging states portrays the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians as they see themselves—through a historical lens.

The approach in each of the topical chapters is to generalize what is common among the three states and then to focus on each country in turn. Chapters on the land, people, and history; religion; marriage, family, gender, and education; holidays, cuisine, and leisure activities; language, folklore, and literature; media and cinema; performing arts; and art are a superb introduction to the Baltics and to the unique aspects of the countries. Lithuania's culture has been heavily influenced by Poland, and the capital, Vilnius, was a thriving center of Jewish learning until the Nazi years. Latvia is the most ethnically diverse and Russian-influenced. Estonia sees itself as a European country, indeed, Scandinavian.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Baltic expert O'Connor offers an accessible account of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian people for general readers and travelers, explaining the region's complex geopolitics and history, including the effects of the Soviet era, the impact of religions, including the rise of Orthodoxy and Lutheranism, the demise of the Jewish community in the Second World War and its quiet rebirth, the roles of marriage and family life, gender issues, education, holidays, cuisine, leisure activities, folklore, literature, the media and cinema, performing arts, architecture and housing, and art. Particularly interesting is the story of the various languages in the region and the influence of its many neighbors in all directions."

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Reference & Research Book News/Art Book News Annual 2007

"The book is well referenced and benefits from the citation of websites which should enable the reader to update much of the factual information given. It is a bold enterprise that seems to have succeeded."

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LENNUK

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313331251
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/30/2006
Series:
Culture and Customs of Europe Series
Pages:
298
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.69(d)

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