Mapping the Estonian Literature of the Selfie-era

  • Anneli Kõvamees Tallinna Ülikool
Keywords: travel literature, the My-series, the 2000s, the 2010s, Estonian literature

Abstract

We live in the era of selfies as making photos of oneself and sharing these in social media has become extremely popular if not even a norm. The perceiving and experiencing subject is in the foreground. This is also valid in the field of literature, which has been democratized as anyone can make a book and anyone can write a book, as seen by the boom of biographies of all kinds. The My-series published by the Estonian publishing company Petrone Print illustrates these tendencies. The publishing company was founded in 2007 by Epp Petrone who had moved back to Estonia from the United States. Her My America was the first book in the series. In this series of books authors describe their lives and activities in one country or city. The series has a firm position in the Estonian literary field: the books are constantly in top ten lists and are in high demand in libraries. Taking the My-series as an example, the article maps tendencies in contemporary Estonian literature. The subject-centeredness is one of the characteristics of contemporary literature as the amount of books concentrating on one’s life experiences is quite noteworthy. The exact genre of this type of literature is ambiguous, which is another characteristic of contemporary literature. I would define the My-series books as ‘literary selfies’ as the person portrays him/herself setting the world in the background. Another issue discussed in connection with the series is migration. The demographic situation in Europe has changed and continues to change; various nationalities can be found in the world metropolises, and the shift from the monocultural and monolingual world to the multicultural and multilingual one is obvious. Therefore, more and more people have a ‘hyphenated identity’; consequently, one’s national identity may not be as clear as before. Over the last decade, a large number of Estonians have left their homeland and settled down in other countries, an aspect illustrated by the My-series.

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Published
2019-12-31