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.
(b.1965) is the editor-in-chief of the cultural monthly Vikerkaar. He also teaches literary criticism at the University of Tallinn and publishes book reviews and opinion columns in several Estonian newspapers.
He has published two books of poetry and translated many works of philosophy (W. James, S. Blackburn, R. Rorty, C. Taylor) and poetry (W. B. Yeats, Ted Hughes) into Estonian. In 2004, he organized the 17th European Meeting of Cultural Journals in Tallinn. He has been a member of the Eurozine Editorial Board.
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.
Artists in the post-communist world
Jaan Kaplinski’s 1992 allegory of transition casts doubt on the reputations of artists and writers after the collapse of the USSR…
Waiting for the Great Estonian Novel
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.
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.