In Estonia, digital optimism combines with free market scepticism about the regulation of the Internet. As a result, privacy concerns have been sidelined, while the activities of the security services remain obscure, writes Ann Väljataga of Vikerkaar.
Jaan Kaplinski’s 1992 allegory of transition casts doubt on the reputations of artists and writers after the collapse of the USSR…
Literary studies in Estonia has had to rapidly assimilate twentieth-century literary criticism in order to become an international and modern discipline. But has this process been successful? During the Soviet era, national authors were almost sacrosanct, but rarely discussed in a critical way; today, in the universities, a plurality of approaches and idioms, above all a poorly-spoken postmodernese, has developed at the expense of quality. The editor of Estonian literary and cultural journal Vikerkaar argues that instead of baffling one another with jargon, literary critics should aim at a wider readership. This would satisfy theory’s political claims and guarantee good writing at the same time.
"The impact of new media remains unclear"
Generous funding for Estonian journals, rooted in the politics of national identity, has shielded them from the effects of the crisis. Yet past continuity is no guarantee for the future, as Vikerkaar and others negotiate the transition from print to digital formats.
Literary perspectives: Estonia
While the Great Estonian Novel has yet to be written, writes poet and critic Märt Väljataga, the range of fiction in Estonian is sufficiently wide to serve as an indicator of the hopes and fears, anxieties and obsessions, of post-communist Estonia. From the autobiographical to the historical realist and allegorical, Estonian novelists have successfully developed a variety of styles to respond to post-Cold War experience.