Religioossed motiivid „Rooma päevikus“ ja „Hingede öös“. Võrdlevaid tähelepanekuid / Religious motifs in Roman Diary and All Souls’ Night: comparative observations


  • Maarja Vaino A. H. Tammsaare memorial museum in Tallinn



Karl Ristikivi, religious aspects, literary history, poetics


This article examines the symmetry between two novels by Karl Ristikivi (1912–1977), All Souls’ Night (1953) and Roman Diary (1976). The poetic and structural landmarks in the configuration of All Souls’ Night are compared to their counterparts in Roman Diary. These are discussed under the keywords spatial shift, spiritual guidance, widows, sepulchral monuments, and judgement. The most significant conclusion of the analysis is that all the listed motifs that first appear in All Souls’ Night, acquire a powerfully religious tone in Roman Diary. The protagonist’s existential crisis in All Souls’ Night has been supplanted in Roman Diary by the narrator’s religious rebirth. In All Souls’ Night, the first-person protagonist’s main problem is existential – the difficulties of life and living. In this very personal work, veiled with symbols, Ristikivi tries to come to grips with the shattered reality where he must live the rest of his life. In Roman Diary, the first-person protagonist is no longer facing life, but death. His reality is more visionary and brimming with references to the beyond. Questions about death and the afterlife are more important than anxieties about existence and life, and the afterlife is, understandably, linked to religion and faith, particularly to Christianity. Death is seen as one’s most direct way of communication with God, and Roman Diary tries to make sense of both faith and death. The faith of a living person, the common attribute of Ristikivi’s idealistic characters who want to make things right in the world, turns into a faith of a dying person. In Roman Diary, his last novel, Ristikivi deals primarily with a metaphysical world and the afterlife. The article also examines Roman Diary’s close relationship to Ristikivi’s other works and to works by other authors mentioned in the novel. In the article author’s opinion, the primary element linking these works is the process of unification and nationbuilding throughout European history, a significant theme in all of Ristikivi’s works. Numerous characters from his earlier works appear in Roman Diary. Many of Ristikivi’s characters are unifiers and/or maintainers of stability. Ristikivi’s yearning to write about a unified Europe was related to his personal fate as a refugee and his trauma of homelessness. 


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Artiklid / Articles