Saladused ja narri kuju Anton Hansen Tammsaare poeetikas. Secrets and the Figure of the Fool in Anton Hansen Tammsaare’s Poetics


  • Maarja Vaino Tallinna Ülikool A.H. Tammsaare muuseum



This article examines the poetics of Anton Hansen Tammsaare’s texts with a focus on the manifestation and function of the irrational. Tammsaare has been regarded first and foremost as the author of earthy, realistic novels about the peasantry; as a writer he has been deemed a rationalist and a skeptic. However, the criticism of the 1930s also recognizes a dimension of irrationality in his works. A variety of features are listed through which Tammsaare communicates the non-realistic aspects of his characters` perception of the world: the creation of a mysterious quality in the text; paradoxical situations and trains of thought; impulsive and intuitive behaviour on the part of the characters. This line of research was interrupted after World War II: in Soviet literary scholarship, topics that diverged from realism, or „closeness to life” were frowned upon. Therefore the dimension of irrationality in Tammsaare’s works has yet to receive in-depth consideration. This article seeks to develop the insights of earlier, pre-war Tammsaare critics and carry them further. Closer examination is devoted to the secret as an impetus for events in Tammsaare’s texts, as well as to that dimension of the irrational in Tammsaare which is expressed through the archetype of the fool. Though secrets in the abstract sense could be seen as an aspect influencing interpersonal relations between characters, Tammsaare uses the figure of the fool to bring characters into his works whose strange and incomprehensible behaviour keeps events „going”, creating more and more complicated or insoluble situations, and throwing the well-ordered world into chaos. Tammsaare characteristically constructs his fictional world in such a way that externally plausible circumstances underscore the behaviour patterns of characters in a state of psychological tension, thereby bringing their internal and unconscious worlds into view. What emerges out of this process is a particular „tammsaare’ian” reality Games played with secrets and the application of derivatives of the fool archetype are an integral part of Tammsaare’s poetics, both helping shape fictional reality and evoking the dimension of the irrational, which tends to prevail over human reason.


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