Friedebert Tuglas

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Friedebert Tuglas Friedebert Tuglas 1910.jpg
Friedebert Tuglas

Friedebert Tuglas, born Friedebert Mihkelson or Michelson (2 March 1886, Ahja – 15 April 1971, Tallinn) was an Estonian writer and critic who introduced Impressionism and Symbolism to Estonian literature. [1] Persecuted by the authorities in the beginning of 20th century, he later became an acknowledged representative of Estonian literature in the Soviet era [ citation needed ].

Ahja Place in Põlva County, Estonia

Ahja is a small borough in Põlva Parish, Põlva County in southeastern Estonia. Named after the Ahja River, it is located 191 km southeast of Tallinn and about 16 km north of Põlva.

Tallinn City in Harju, Estonia

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland in Harju County. From the 13th century until 1918, the city was known as Reval. Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi) and has a population of 440,776.

Estonia Republic in Northern Europe

Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the second most spoken Finnic language.



The son of a carpenter, Tuglas studied at the Hugo Treffner Gymnasium from 1904 to 1905. After imprisonment for revolutionary activities, he went into exile in 1906, living in Finland, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and France, before returning to Estonia in time for the February revolution of 1917. [2]

Hugo Treffner Gymnasium school in Estonia

Hugo Treffner Gymnasium is a secondary school in Tartu, Estonia with special emphasis on science education. Founded by Hugo Treffner, it was the only large secondary school in 19th century Estonia with dominantly Estonian students and no age restrictions. During the Estonian national awakening, the school greatly contributed to the numbers of Estonian intellectuals.

His most famous short story is Popi ja Huhuu. He was the leader of Estonian literary group Young Estonia (Noor-Eesti) in the beginning of 20th century. He was one of the founders of the Estonian Writers' Union and served as its chairman in 1922, 1925–1927 and 1937-1939.

Young Estonia

Young Estonia (Noor-Eesti) was a neo-romantic literary group established around 1905 and led by the poet Gustav Suits and short story writer Friedebert Tuglas. Other members of the group included Villem Grünthal-Ridala and Johannes Aavik. Gustav Suits articulated the ideology of the group thus:

"What buoys up and exalts humanity is education. Our slogan is: More culture! More European culture! Let us remain Estonians, but let us become Europeans too. We want to discover the ideas and forms towards which we are impelled by our national spirit, character, and needs on the one hand, and by European culture on the other."

The Estonian Writers Union, is a professional association of Estonian writers and literary critics.

Tuglas was granted the title of People's Writer of the Estonian SSR in 1946. The same year he was elected a corresponding member of the Soviet Estonian Academy of Sciences. He subsequently fell into disfavor, officially blacklisted, deprived of his civil rights and excluded from membership in all institutions, including the Writers’ Union, from which he was expelled in 1950. [3]

People's Writer was a title granted by the Republics of the Soviet Union and the Autonomous Republics of the Soviet Union to its distinguished writers.

Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic union republic of the Soviet Union

The Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, also known as Soviet Estonia or Estonia was an unrecognized republic of the Soviet Union, administered by a subordinate of the Soviet government. The ESSR was initially established on the territory of the Republic of Estonia on 21 July 1940, following the invasion of Soviet troops on 17 June 1940, and the installation of a puppet government backed by the Soviet Union, which declared Estonia a Soviet constituency. The Estonian SSR was subsequently incorporated into the Soviet state on 9 August 1940. The territory was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944 and administered as a part of Reichskommissariat Ostland.

Tuglas died in Tallinn in 1971, aged 85, not long after completing his memoirs, acknowledged as a major work in the writer's life. A museum commemorating his life was opened in Tallinn the same year. A short story prize commemorating Tuglas was established in 1971. [3]

A selection of Tuglas' stories is available in English entitled The Poet and the Idiot and Other Stories (Central European University Press, Budapest & New York, 2007, translated by Eric Dickens). A number of Tuglas' other stories were translated into English during Soviet times.

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  1. Estonian literature at Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. Friedebert Tuglas, Database of Estonian Writers, retrieved 19 February 2015
  3. 1 2 "Remembrance". Estonian Academy of Sciences Year Book, 12(39), 2006, ISSN 1406-1503, p. 164.