Maire Jaanus



Maire Jaanus (in the years 1970–1984 Maire Kurrik, born 22. I 1940) is a literary researcher residing in the USA.

Maire Jaanus was born in Tartu. Her family emigrated to Germany in 1944 and then to the United States in 1950. Jaanus received her bachelor’s degree in Vassar College in 1961. She continued her studies in the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the University of Cambridge. In 1968, she defended her comparative literature PhD thesis on the works of Thomas Mann at Harvard University. From 1962-1970, she was married to Edward Said.

Jaanus begun working as a lecturer at Harvard University in 1963. From 1965-1966, she was a professor at the Juilliard School and from 1968, at the University of Illinois. In the same year, she became an instructor of English at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York.

From 1969 to 1981 she intermittently worked as assistant and associate professor at Barnard College. From 1981, she has been a professor of English and comparative literature at the same college. Additionally, she taught a course on Reading Lacan and Literature at Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She taught the upper-level 19th and 20th century Humanities courses at Columbia College for several decades. Jaanus is a noted expert of the theories of Jacques Lacan, the French psychoanalyst. In 2011, her collection Kirg ja kirjandus (‘Passion and Literature’) was published in Estonian. It includes her psychoanalytical interpretations of the works of Anton H. Tammsaare, Jaan Kross, Mati Unt, Viivi Luik, Tõnu Õnnepalu and others.

In 2016, she gave a radio lecture in Ööülikool (‘Night University’), a famous show in Estonian Public Broadcasting, in which she talked about the meaning of the unconscious in a person’s psyche and how it manifests in behavior and culture.

In 1984, Jaanus published the novel She in the USA, which depicts the life and love of a 40-year-old woman. The novel was officially recognized by the American Association of University Women.

L. P. (Translated by A. A.)

Books in English and Estonian

She. Garden City, New York: The Dial Press, 1984, 225 pp.

Literary research
Maire Jaanus Kurrik, Georg Trakl. New York; London: Columbia University Press, 1974, 48 pp. [An essay.]
Maire Jaanus Kurrik, Literature and negation. New York: Columbia University, 1979, 276 pp.
Kirg ja kirjandus. Esseid eesti ja Euroopa kirjandusest ja psühhoanalüüsist. Tallinn: Vikerkaar, 2011, 367 lk.