In recent years, more than was previously possible, attention has been directed in Estonian literary studies toward Baltic literature in other languages: studies have been published on Baltic German literature, and 17th century poetry in German, Latin, and Greek. One can also see new approaches toward Baltic German literature emerging in Germany and Latvia. Around the same time, history-writing on the Baltic countries has begun to devote more attention to the textuality of historical texts. The rapprochement between literary and historical studies, the inclusion of new objects of research, and the application of new approaches is also revising the existing treatment of early Estonian literature. It is now time to bring together research results on a new level of synthesis, and to make them available to a broader Estonian-language public.

Based on these endeavours, within the framework of the targeted financing project “Autogenesis and transfer: the development of modern culture in Estonia”, and in cooperation with the University of Tartu Libraryʼs Estonian Science Foundation grant “Research and network project EEVA on Early Estonian Literature” the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre is planning the publication of a new, substantial literary history.

The content of the proposed project is the composition and publication of “The history of Baltic literary culture” and the organisation of concurrent symposia on Baltic literary culture. The goal of the volume is a simultaneous inquiry into the multilingual literatures of the Baltic lands, beginning with first written monuments until the end of the 19th century; examination of the dynamics, functionality, and reciprocal relations of these literatures in the Baltic sociocultural context; mapping the field(s) of Baltic literature. By a so-called geocultural approach, we hope to find new viewpoints for the study of early Estonian literature.

To keep abreast of the current state of research on Baltic literary history and history-writing, cooperation of Latvian and German researchers is included in the project. The editors of the volume are Jaan Undusk and Liina Lukas; contributing authors include Kristi Viiding, Linda Kaljundi, Ulrike Plath, Kristiina Ross, Jürgen Beyer, Stefan Donecker, Pauls Daija, Mara Grudule, Marek Tamm, Annika Kilgi, Kairit Kaur, Vahur Aabrams and Jaanus Vaiksoo.

Several international symposia on Baltic literary culture have been organised, during which a shared theoretical approach and theoretical conceptualisation has been elaborated for the writing of the history of Baltic literary culture, and details of cooperation have been worked out.


The seventh international symposium on Baltic German literary culture
Geschichte der baltischen Schriftkultur. Diskurse und Genres
11.-12. September 2013, Tartu

The sixth international symposium on Baltic German literary culture
Das literarische Feld des Baltikums – Strukturen und Wirkungsmechanismen
16.-18. September 2011, Tartu

The fifth international symposium on Baltic German literary culture
Politische Dimensionen der deutschbaltischen literarischen Kultur
Tartu, 18.–20. September 2009

The fourth international symposium on Baltic German literary culture
Umweltphilosophie und Naturdenken im baltischen Kulturraum
Tartu, 27.–29. September 2007

The third international symposium on Baltic German literary culture
Die Nonkonformisten der 1840er Jahre? Victor Hehn (1813–1890) und Freidrich Robert Faehlmann (1798–1850)
Tartu, 17. September 2005

The second international symposium on Baltic German literary culture
Hier ist woanders. Das baltische Welterlebnis der Keyserlings
Tartu, 18.–21. September 2003