Rainis, was the pseudonym of Jānis Pliekšāns (b. September 11 [O.S. August 30] 1865 in Varslavāni, current Jekabpils district — d. September 12, 1929 in Majori), a poet, playwright, translator, and politician who is considered to be the greatest Latvianwriter. Rainis' works include the classic plays Uguns un nakts (Fire and Night, 1905) and Indulis un Ārija (Indulis and Ārija, 1911) and a highly regarded translation of Goethe'sFaust. His works had a profound influence on the literary Latvian language, and the folkloricsymbolism he employed in his major works has been central to Latvian nationalism. During his education at the Riga City Gymnasium he met and befriended Pēteris Stučka, later to become a prominent Latvian communist and Rainis's brother-in-law. Rainis studied law at the University of St. Petersburg. After completing his studies, he worked at the Vilnius regional court and with Andrejs Stērsts in Jelgava. Rainis wrote for Dienas Lapa (The Daily Sheet), Tēvija (Fatherland) and the Latvian Conversational Dictionary. From 1891 to 1895 Rainis was editor in chief of Dienas Lapa. Rainis was also socially active and politically prominent, being one of the spiritual leaders of the Revolution of 1905 in Latvia and the New Current that foreshadowed to it. In 1897 he married Aspazija (pseudonym of Elza Pliekšāne, born Rozenberga), another Latvian poet and playwright active in the New Current. The New Current was eventually subjected to a crackdown by the Tsarist authorities as a seditious movement. With the failure of the Revolution, he emigrated to Switzerland together with his wife, settling in Castagnola, a suburb of Lugano. Rainis and Aspazija returned to Latvia on April 4, 1920. Rainis, as a member of the Central Committee of the Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party, resumed his political activities and was member of the Constitutional Assembly of Latvia (Satversmes sapulce) and Saeima (Parliament) and of the Ministry of Education Arts Department, founder and director of the Dailes Theater, and director of the National Theater from 1921 to 1925, Minister of Education from December, 1926 to January, 1928, and a member of the Cultural Fund and (Military) Order of Lāčplēsis Council. Rainis had the ambition of becoming Latvia's president and became less prominent in politics when this ambition was not fulfilled.