Digimodernistlik eesti kirjanik / The Digimodernist Estonian Writer


  • Piret Viires Tallinn University, Estonian Literary Museum




The article examines the cultural situation following postmodernism in the first decade of the 21st century. To characterise this situation, the umbrella term “post-postmodernism” is used, as well as “neomodernism”, “altermodern”, “metamodernism”, “hypermodernity”, “performatism”, “critical realism” etc. All these approaches are, in a wider sense, united by their aim of opposing postmodernist cynicism and irony, and bringing back truth, simplicity and clarity. It has also been found that literature has returned or is returning to realism, and various cultural phenomena are emerging, which have been designated by the concept “new sincerity”.

In descriptions of the current cultural situation, this trend seeking truth and simplicity is supported by approaches which emphasise the significance of technological developments during the last decade. A prominent figure here is Alan Kirby, who launched the term “digimodernism”, mainly linked with the adaptation and spread of Web 2.0 at the beginning of the 21st century: the blogosphere, Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook.

The article seeks answers to the question of whether we can talk about digimodernism in Estonian literature in the 2000s. In the 1990s Estonian writers were quite reluctant to undertake computer-technological experiments, and there are only a few examples of Estonian digital literature, whereas a change occurred in the 2000s. Many Estonian writers have had and still have their own blogs and surprisingly many have joined Facebook. The term “twitterature” is also familiar to Estonian writers. The article tackles the dominant topics in the blogs of Estonian writers and analyses their possible collective creative work on Facebook. A question is raised as to whether it is possible that the fragmentary narrative structure of blogs and Facebook has influenced mainstream literature.

The article concludes that one essential change in Estonian literature in the 2000s is writers’ technological leap, active usage of the opportunities offered by Web 2.0 and participation in the web world: blogs, Facebook and Twitter. We can thus claim that a “digimodernist turn” did take place in Estonian culture in the 2000s.


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Author Biography

Piret Viires, Tallinn University, Estonian Literary Museum

PhD in Estonian literature. Professor of Estonian Literature at Tallinn University and senior reseacher at the research group of cultural and literary theory of the Estonian Literary Museum. Her major areas of research are contemporary Estonian literature, postmodernism and post-postmodernism, the relations between literature and technology, digital literature.