Contribution of Eduards Volteris to the folksong edition Latvju dainas and to the academic edition of Latvian folksongs
Keywords: collecting of folklore, “Latvju dainas” — Latvian Folksongs, folksongs named “dainas”, Wissendorf, unpublished manuscript by Volteris, mostly collected Latgalian folksongs
Language: In Latvian

Eduards Volteris is the first collector and researcher of Latvian folklore educated as a professional philologist. In 1882 and in 1884, while working at the University of St. Petersburg, he came to Latvia in order to collect the ethnographic material from its eastern part — Latgale. Because of the limited possibilities of publication, there appeared an idea to publish this material together either with the Latgalian folksong collection gathered by Fricis Brīvzemnieks, or even with the biggest folksong collection of that time — Latvju dainas, compiled by Krišjānis Barons. Finally, around 1010 folksongs from the book by Volteris, in Russian, Materialy dlya etnografii Latyshskogo plemeni Vitebskoy gubernii. Sobral i snabdil ob’yasneniyami E. A. Vol’ter, I Speterburg 1890 (Materials for Ethnography of the Latvian Tribe of Vitebsk Governorate. Collected and supplemented with explanations by E. A. Volter, I St.Petersburg 1890) were incorporated in Latvju dainas without any indications of informants or places. Today the manuscript catalogue of Latvju dainas (Dainu skapis — the Cabinet of Folksongs) is digitalised and all the song texts, rewritten by Barons, are accessible in the form of data base.

The publisher of Latvju dainas, Henrijs Visendorfs (Wissendorff), was planning to involve Volteris in the preparation of the edition as a scholarly advisor, while they worked side by side in the Lithuanian–Latvian Commission. Unfortunately, this commission was closed because of severe misunderstandings between the professional scholars and amateurs. When Wissendorff was sharply criticised by the followers of Volteris, he created his best critical article about 29 mistakes, which appeared in the translation of the folksong texts from Latvian into Russian in the book by Volteris.

In the Volteris’ manuscript collection in Petersburg, a number of unpublished Latgalian folksongs can be found the copies of which are obtained by the Archives of Latvian Folklore in the volumes of academic folksong edition. However, the unpublished second part of Volteris’ Latgalian folklore collection is still waiting for a publisher.