Naeruse lause huligaansest tõetruudusest, Jüri Üdi näitel / On Laughter, Truthfulness, and Hooliganism as Unfolded in the Writings of Jüri Üdi


  • Liisi Rünkla Tallinn University



polyphony, laughter, singularities, undecidability, Søren Kierkegaard, Jüri Üdi


The writings of Jüri Üdi (alter ego of Estonian poet and actor Juhan Viiding, from 1968 to 1978) display the reality of something that could be referred to as a joyful dimension of anguish. Using four different (yet connected) conceptual frames, this study seeks to observe how that dimension is created through play with and within words.

Hando Runnel (1975) has described Jüri Üdi’s word artistry as walking on language. From this description and others, Hasso Krull has derived the concept of decentred affirmation (1998), as pure expression (1991), encouraging one to thus consider the process of expression as essentially conditioned by language.

In biosemiotic intuition, language use is considered as unconditionally transparent as any other living process, while life tends to express in its current form all of its memory (its history of creating surfaces). To some extent, the works of Mikhail Bakhtin (1934, and others) have already deeply inscribed this intuition into the discourses of literary theory, observing how language use is ever polyphonic, therefore polylogical; keeping several voices in play, at once laughing and true to its most deeply cherished ideals; tradition-bound; always already to quote another, in anticipation of the other’s response.

This study is intentionally written in an elusive manner, deeply influenced (perhaps indirectly as well via Franz Kafka and Jacques Derrida) by Søren Kierkegaard’s incessant emphasis (1843) on singularities ever introducing ruptures in language-bound life, inventing thresholds, drawing lines of flight via paradox, via the absurd, and by the beautifully exemplary manner in which Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous discourse embodies undecidability.

This study does not seek to explain how the writings of Jüri Üdi perplex or enchant. Perplexed and enchanted, this study focuses rather on subjects of a more general nature, such as the conditions of writing (truthfully, through laughter) as observed within ecosophies of non-linguistic, pre-iconographic life, of singularities, of impersonal individuations, of undecidabilities. Keeping the writings of Jüri Üdi in mind, this study sketches the outlines of an ecosophy on which poetry is incessantly in the process of commenting, while never actually intervening as an object of research. Rather, poetry inspires as knowledge of how it feels to live and to understand.

Writing as an actor’s work requires participation of a kind that seems to be precisely explicated in an early designation of the role of Jüri Üdi as the chant of a realist angel (“realistliku ingli laul”, 1968). Thus, this study is merely an adventure seeking to understand that particular designation, drawing support from some inspiring patterns of inventing concepts between philosophy and life.


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Author Biography

Liisi Rünkla, Tallinn University

Liisi Rünkla – doctoral student in studies of cultures at the Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University. Her main research interests are theories of undecidability, ecosophies, and Estonian literature.






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