After leaving secondary school in Mažeikiai, Virgilija Stonytė studied the Lithuanian language and literature at Vilnius Pedagogical Institute. She graduated from the institute in 1984, and since then she has been a secondary school teacher. Stonytė was familiar with Professor Vanda Zaborskaitė from 1980. She participated in various events as a family member, and was involved in networks the intelligentsia of that time. According to her, there were two main annual events that gathered a close group of intellectuals: the birthday and the anniversary of the death of the Lithuanian writer Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas. At these and other meetings, members of a trusted network discussed freely many important political and cultural issues, shared their opinions, and devised verbal strategies for supporting informal cultural initiatives. Stonytė thinks that Vanda Zaborskaitė was one of the leaders of the cultural opposition at that time for at least three reasons. First of all, she experienced persecution by the regime during the 1950s and early 1960s. Secondly, as a professor of literature, Zaborskaitė promoted the importance of the poet Maironis. Thirdly, she was in touch with some Catholic priests and kept up a correspondence with them.
After the death of Professor Zaborskaitė, Stonytė inherited a huge private archive that holds personal correspondence, manuscripts, and Zaborskaitė's diary. Understanding its great importance to the history of culture, Stonytė started to collaborate with researchers at the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore, in order to deal with this archive and publish books about Vanda Zaborskaitė.
According to Stonytė, cultural opposition is related to the search for an authentic national culture, preserving and understanding its importance.
Vilnius , Lithuania
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- Mažeikiai, Lithuania