Juozas Tumas, also known by
the pen name Vaižgantas
(September 20 1869
- April 29 1933), was a
prominent Lithuanian writer, Roman Catholic priest, social
activist, literary historian, and one of the founders of the
Party of National
Notes of Vaižgantas
He wrote novels, short fictional pieces, and
non-fiction. His most notable works include the novel
(Rays of Hope) and the narrative Dėdės
(Uncles and Aunts). Tumas is considered one of the
most important Lithuanian writers of his era.
Tumas was born in the village of Malaišiai near Svėdasai into a
farming family. He completed his elementary school studies within two
years, and studied at the gymnasium in Daugavpils, Latvia from 1881 to
During this time he developed an interest in Russian
classic literature. Soon after graduation
he enrolled in the Kaunas Priest Seminary; he was ordained in 1893, and began his career as a
A ban on publication in the Lithuanian language was imposed by the
Empire from 1866 to 1904; Vaižgantas was accused of
book smuggling and interrogated, but
was released for lack of evidence. His brother, however,
was sentenced to exile in Siberia for this
crime. Vaižgantas was advised to flee to the
States, but chose to stay in Lithuania.
Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas contributed to various Lithuanian
newspapers, including Žinyčia
and Tėvynės Sargas
As a result of these activities he was accused of being a
"Lithuanian maniac". He was cleared of this charge, but was put on
parole and forbidden to print anything without receiving direct
permission from a bishop.
During the Great Seimas of
Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas was a representative of the
Christian Democratic Party
; he was among those participants who
voiced support for Lithuanian autonomy within the Russian Empire.
Vaižgantas settled in Vilnius and worked
for the newspapers Vilniaus
žinios, Viltis, and Ryto garsas.
He was also active in various cultural organizations, particularly
in the Lithuanian Science
, the Lithuanian
Society of Arts
, and in the Rūta
. His strong anti-tsarist
activities made him unpopular with the local clergy, and he was
transferred among parishes several times.
During the years from 1911 to 1918 Tumas spent much of his time
abroad. In 1911 he travelled to the United States, and collected
donations to build the Saulė Educational Society
headquarters. In 1914 he worked as an editor for the Latvian-based
newspaper Rygos Garsas
In 1915 he
worked in Saint
Central Relief Committee, which sought to mitigate the effects
of World War I, and laid the foundations
for the new Party of National
Progress. He also attended the Lithuanian Conference
returned to Lithuania in 1918; after Poland annexed Vilnius in 1920, he
was forced to relocate to the interwar
capital of Lithuania, Kaunas.
Kaunas Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas lectured at the University
of Lithuania, and in 1929 he received a doctorate honoris causa from the university.
to 1932 he served as rector of Vytautas'
the Great Church in Kaunas; he was buried in the church in
Vaižgantas was known for encouraging younger authors, and is
sometimes known in Lithuania as "the diamond hunter." He downplayed
his native Aukštaitijan
freely coined neologisms
, and used
dialects and borrowings from other languages when he felt they
suited his literary purposes.
In 1997, a museum dedicated to Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas was
established in the Kaunas apartment where he lived and worked from
1920 until 1933. Another museum displaying his work is
located in Panevėžys.
- Vaizdeliai. - Tilsit,
- Scėniškieji vaizdeljai. - St. Peterburg, 1906.
- Šis tas: trys Vaižganto apysakėlės. - Shenandoah,
- Vaizdeliai. - Tilsit, 1908.
- Ten gera, kur mūsų nėra, arba neapleiskime Tėvynės!:
(pasakojimai, kaip mūsų išeiviams sekasi Amerikoje). - Kaunas,
- Scenos vaizdai: monologai ir dialogai. - Riga,
- Karo vaizdai; Rimai ir nerimai. - Riga, 1915.
- Alegorijų vaizdai. - St. Peterburg, 1916.
- Lietuvos "žodis": šių dienų apsakymėlis. - St. Peterburg, 1916.
- Vanduo ir oras. - St. Peterburg, 1917.
- Pragiedruliai. - Vilnius,
- Aplink Baltiją: kas jau yra pajūryje ir kas dar norėtų ten
būti. - Vilnius, 1919.
- Tiesiant kelią Lietuvos nepriklausomybei, 1916-1917 m.
- Vilnius, 1919.
- Jaunam veikėjui: 20 feljetonų. - Kaunas, 1925.
- Kanauninkas Petras Legeckas ir jo gyvenimo nuotykiai.
- Sin at Easter, and Other Stories, Translated by
Danguolé Sealey [and others] Biographical outline by Antanas
Vaičiulaitis. Edited by Nola M. Zobarskas. Introd. by Charles
Angoff. New York, Manyland Books [c1971], 131 p.
- Baltic Online, Lesson 5: Lithuanian.
University of Texas at Austin,
February 15, 2007. Accessed September 14, 2007.