Friedrich Nietzsche's Influence on the Estonian Intellectual Landscape

  • Jaanus Sooväli University of Tartu, Department of Philosophy and Semiotics
Keywords: Nietzsche, will to power, literature, Estonian history of thought, Young Estonia, Zarathustra, overman


In my article, I delineate Friedrich Nietzsche’s influence on Estonian intellectual landscape. As it turns out, this influence has been quite remarkable and extends from literature to politics. I start with outlining several orientations of the reception of Nietzsche’s thought in the world and then suggest that with one exception, all those orientations are to some extent also present in Estonian Nietzsche reception. Nietzsche’s reception in Estonia started rather early and one can say that he was somewhat known in Tallinn as well as in Tartu even in his lifetime. The first attempt to translate one of his works (notably Also sprach Zarathustra) into Estonian was made already in 1901. Till the Soviet occupation in 1940, Nietzsche’s thought was rather actively appropriated by Estonian writers, intellectuals and even politicians. In Soviet Union, Nietzsche was prohibited and his works were not freely accessible in public libraries. With the restoration of Estonia’s independence in the beginning of 90s, a new, fresh and active wave of Nietzsche reception also begun. New translations appeared and the reception was generally more faithful and philosophical than in the first period.  

Author Biography

Jaanus Sooväli, University of Tartu, Department of Philosophy and Semiotics
Institute of Philosophy and Semiotic, Research Fellow
How to Cite
Sooväli, J. (2016). Friedrich Nietzsche’s Influence on the Estonian Intellectual Landscape. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 8(2), 141-155. Retrieved from

Most read articles by the same author(s)