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204 KAIJA, Ivande (born Antonija Millere-Meldere, married name Antonija Lu - kina) (1876–1941) Latvian prose writer, journalist, public and political figure; co-founder (1918) of the Latvijas Sieviešu Asocia -cija (Latvian Women’s Association). Ivande Kaija (Antonija Millere-Meldere ) was born on 12 October 1876 in Jumpravmui ža, to middle-class parents. Her father, Mik , elis Millers-Melders, was originally a tradesman. He made a fortune and became a proprietor and landlord in Riga, where, in 1879, the family settled in the pleasant suburban district of Torn , akalns. Her mother, Matilde Millere-Meldere (born Flintman), was a housewife. The family lost three children but three daughters survived. In 1881, Antonija entered Torn , akalns Elementary school; later, she studied at the Riga Lomonosov Women’s Gymnasium. In 1895, she travelled to the Caucasus before spending a couple of years in Switzerland and Germany, where she studied philosophy and art history at the universities of Bern and Leipzig. This was a period of rapid intellectual development for Antonija Millere-Meldere; she frequented libraries, museums and art galleries and learned German, Russian, Latin, French, English and Italian. After her marriage in 1901 to Felikss Lu -kins, a successful oculist, she gave up her studies and settled down with her husband in Riga. They had three children: a daughter Silvia (b. 1903) and sons Haralds (b. 1905) and Ivars (b. 1907). In 1910, with her husband remaining in Latvia with the children, Antonija Lu -kina went to France to study journalism at the Sorbonne. She wrote editorials for the Collège de France (what this entailed is not clear) and traveled the country, also making trips to Italy and Switzerland. When in Switzerland, Antonija Lu -kina visited the Latvian émigrés Aspazija and Rainis (Ja -nis Pliekša -ns), outstanding Latvian poets and playwrights who were active supporters of the social democratic movement and who had fled from the violent aftermath of the Revolution of 1905, settling down at Castagnola near Lake Lugano. Lu -kina had wanted to meet the poet Aspazija, whom she greatly admired. The two women developed a deep friendship, sustained by intimate correspondence throughout their years away from Latvia (1910–1920), and lent each other mutual support. Lu -kina began a donation-collection scheme to support 205 Aspazija and Rainis financially and the sum raised was presented to them in the form of a national award upon their return to Latvia in 1920. In the 1920s, Lu -kina used her relations with leading politicians and the President, Ka -rlis Ulmanis, to reconcile Rainis with liberal political circles, mitigate the effects of hostilities caused by his social democratic interests and promote him in public life. Rainis and Aspazija became her literary foster-parents to whom she showed her draft manuscripts. During their first meeting in 1910, Rainis suggested she turn from drama to prose, advice that may well have contributed to the development of an unorthodox woman and a unique, early twentieth-century writer. After her return to Riga in 1913, Lu -kina published her first novel, Iedzimtais gre -ks (The innate sin), under a pen-name, ‘Kaija,’ inspired by the image of a seagull with broken wings on a gravestone she had seen in Castagnola cemetery (Kaija means seagull in Latvian). The book was controversial; it touched upon issues such as free love and openly dealt with a woman’s disillusionment in marriage and her right to personal happiness through sexual liberation. Kaija was instantly acknowledged as an emancipated woman writer, a view sustained by her articles on women’s and other social and political issues in the newspaper Dzimtenes Ve -stnesis (Homeland gazette) and Latviešu izglı-tı-bas biedrı-bas gadagra -mata (The almanac of the Latvian Educational Association). During World War I, Kaija left Latvia with her children and followed her husband, who had been called up to serve as a surgeon in the Russian army. They lived in Moscow, St Petersburg and the Crimea. In 1918, Kaija actively supported the idea of an independent Latvian Republic; she was a deputy candidate on the government list to the first Saeima (Latvian Parliament ) and helped assemble the ministerial cabinet. In 1918, she was also one of the founders of the Latvijas Sieviešu Asocia -cija (Latvian Women’s Association), a political party for the promotion of women’s rights (especially suffrage). It was she who wrote up its statement of purpose and agenda. In 1919–1920, Kaija (among others) set up the Gold Foundation to assist...


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