Philosophical aspects of urban strangeness:
the case of Vilnius
Published online: 1 June 2017
Ó Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017
Abstract For the people of Vilnius, it is helpful to consider its image in the eyes of
strangers. They reﬂect the strangeness of Vilnius itself. The concept of strangeness
will be developed by considering the related spectrum of these strangers’
acquaintance with the city. We consider images of Vilnius formed by noteworthy
Europeans who passed through there or spent some part of their life there, such as
Napoleon Bonaparte, Romain Gary, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Lev Tolstoy, Josif
Brodsky, Mikhail Bakhtin, Vladimir Toporov, Aron Gurwitsch, and Czesław
Miłosz. For some of them (Napoleon, F. Dostoyevsky), Vilnius was strange as a not
yet assimilated territory. For others (L. Tolstoy, J. Brodsky), Vilnius was an
important point of transition between geopolitical spheres. For some of them (R.
Gary, M. Bakhtin), Vilnius was the environment of their maturation and a spring-
board to other cities. Vilnius has also been a city of studies and science (for J. G. A.
Forster, Cz. Miłosz), a city that formed philosophical attitudes (M. Bakhtin, A.
Gurwitsch), and a city of heritages: Russian (for F. Dostoyevsky, L. Tolstoy), Polish
(Cz. Miłosz), German (A. Do
blin, J. G. A. Forster), Jewish (A. Gurwitsch), pagan
(V. Toporov). By appealing to the above mentioned images, the paper deals with
philosophical aspects of strangeness, regionalism, and urban environments.
Keywords Strangeness Á Urban environment Á Regionalism Á Cultural tradition Á
& Tomas Kac
Department of Philosophy and Communication, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University,
Stud East Eur Thought (2017) 69:143–152