Friday, 27 September, 16:00–16:30 (Jakobi 2, Room 102)
Language of presentation: Estonian
University of Tartu, MA student
eve1yn [ät] ut.ee
Latvia and Latvians in Estonian Literature
The title of the presentation can be interpreted in two different ways. One way is to dig into texts and see how Latvians and Latvia are presented there. The other is to look for the significance of Latvians and Latvia in Estonian literature. I, being trapped in words, cannot resist doing both.
As Estonia was divided between Estonia and Livonia till the year 1917, and as the latter incorporated South Estonia and Northern Latvia, then until that time, a great part of Latvia emerged in texts a lot like a homeland for. Visiting Riga was as usual as going to Tallinn. Onwards from the time of independent Estonia, Latvia has somewhat disappeared from sight.
Latvians, though they are our neighbours similarly to Russians, Swedes and Finns, are – compared with other nations – modestly presented in Estonian literature. The cause may lie in fact, that they are not very different from Estonians and therefore they are not worth mentioning. On the other side, when the Latvians are present, then the difference is recognisable. They are not serious and cannot be taken seriously. They are a cause for laughter – even mentioning a Latvian is almost telling a joke.
There are some Estonian writers, who are born into Estonian-Latvian families,August Gailit and Ilmar Laaban to mention some more reknown. Luckily for Estonians they decided to be Estonians. Still their writing is considered somehow different or unestonian.
Key words: Estonian literature, Latvia, Latvians, imagology, geocriticism