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The Problem with Red Ink

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Chapter Summary

The surviving autographs of the first work of belles-lettres in Lithuanian literature ― the poem Metai ( The Seasons) by Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714–1780) ― as well as a fragment of the poem and the poetic inserts in two letters contain prosodic signs of the dactylic feet marked in red ink. The authorship and authenticity of the prosodic signs has been the subject of various opinions for a long time. The author of the present paper analyses how two opinions were distinguished over the history of research into this issue: either that it was Donelaitis himself who placed the prosodic signs in red ink, or that it was someone else, e.g. one of the subsequent owners of the manuscripts or the researchers and editors of Donelaitis’s texts. The scholarly arguments, and the conclusions of the criminological analysis of Donelaitis’s autographs performed in 1974–1975 are analysed and reviewed. While referring to the conclusions and commentaries of the analysis, a decision on the authenticity of the prosodic signs is made.



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