Eduard Vilde – a pioneer of critical realism in Estonian literature

March 4th, 2015 is glad to inform that Estonian Post is to release a special stamp dedicated to Eduard Vilde whose trace is very deep in the Estonian literary and cultural history. The stamp has been already designed and is to be put into circulation on the 4th of March.

When he appeared on Estonian still rather flimsy literary landscape he rapidly became a "phenomenon" in almost all genres – our first crime, fun, travel and novel writer, as well as the man who laid the basis to theatre and literary criticism. He had the skill of winning the hearts of the Estonian people by his extremely popular fun and suspense stories and making the people to read cannot be underestimated.

The first Estonian historical novel, War at Mahtra immediately became a must and an important text for the country's national identity. The novel, largely based on popular memory and authentic historical materials, has later influenced also our treatment of history. Besides, Vilde was the most popular as well as the most influential writer during the period. The people trusted his words. Vilde was a man who always went slightly ahead of his time.

He preferred cohabitation, stood up for human and women's rights, social tolerance, and he would have rather suited into the 21st century instead of the beginning of the 20th century. So it is no wonder that the spiritual space of his country remained old-fashioned and stuffy for him. Vilde needed big-city air and the culture of the developed world. He needed Europe! It is mainly for these reasons that Vilde spent nearly 20 years of his life abroad.

This period included also eleven fickle refugee years. All this experience shaped from Vilde our first true European! After returning from his long banishment in 1917 Vilde, as an experienced citizen of the world plunged into local policy. He became an active social democrat and member of the Tallinn City Council. In 1919 he was employed as the diplomatic representative of the Republic of Estonia to Germany (1919-1920). Later, after retreating from politics, Vilde remained one of the best known candidates of democratic thought in Estonia.