The designer Tiiu Pirsko used Friedebert Tuglas’ (until 1923 Friedebert Mihkelson or Michelson) ink drawing Muinasjutt (Fairy Tale, 1907) to create the visual motifs of the project. Under and Tuglas Literature Centre.

Project’s website

The project Emergence of a Civilised Nation: Decadence and Transitionality in 1905‒1940 studies expressions of ambivalent and affective states of transition in Estonian literature and art compared to European culture. The project`s main argument is that such transitional representations were reproduced by the discourse of decadence, in which decline simultaneously signified renewal and rise. Decadence as transition comes to the fore with the Young Estonia movement, which assigns to literature and art the task of representing the consequences of change in setting (urbanisation). Moving from country to city is perceived both as rise and decline, identifying simultaneously with a “young” nation and old, decadent Europe.


We investigate:

  • Through which narrative and visual strategies are the young nation and old, decadent Europe constructed?
  • What is the relationship between these constructions?
  • How is decadence entangled with the discourses of decay occurring in naturalism?


Principal investigator

  • Mirjam Hinrikus, PhD


Senior research staff

  • Merlin Kirikal, PhD
  • Leo Luks, PhD
  • Viola Parente-Capkova, PhD
  • Riikka Rossi, PhD
  • Jaan Undusk, PhD


Other research staff

  • Tiina Abel
  • Lola Annabel Kass
  • Hegely Klaus
  • Marianne Lind
  • Aare Pilv
  • Kai Stahl
  • Kri Marie Vaik