Eduard Männik (12. I 1906 / 30.XII 1905 -30. I 1966) was a writer of prose, topical satire and children’s books.
He was born in Tartu, and attended the Tartu School of Science, later the Tartu Secondary School of Business. After abandoning his studies he continued with casual work and literary and journalistic activities. In the nineteen-forties he worked in the People's Commissariat for State Security (the future KGB) as an officer and investigator, and took part in military operations in the Soviet side. He worked as a report writer on the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR, and from 1945 as a professional writer. He was a member of the Soviet Communist Party from 1942, and of the Writers’ Union from 1945. He was Deputy Chairman of the Writers’ Union (1950-1951), was member of its board, and its consultant on prose. In 1948 he won the State Prize of the Soviet Estonia for his short-story collection Viisteist sammu ('Fifteen Steps', 1947), and in 1965 was made a Merited Writer of the Estonian SSR. He is buried in the Metsakalmistu ('Forest Cemetery') in Tallinn.
He began his literary activity in periodicals in 1921, with various writings appearing in journals. His first work, Hall maja ('The Grey House', 1930), a novel with an undertone of social criticism, describes a brothel and its residents against the background of the slums of Tartu. In the nineteen-thirties he wrote pieces in periodicals, a selection of which later appeared in the collection Piibujutud ('Pipe Stories', 1964). In the twenties and thirties he wrote children’s stories under the name Aadi Virges: Jänesepoeg To-Too ('To-Too the Bunny-rabbit', 1935), Rajamaa talu ('Rajamaa Farm', 1935), which tells of the War of Independence, and the children’s play Tarkuse müts ('The Wisdom Hat', 1937).
The subject-matter changes in the nineteen-forties; the bulk of his work now consists of personal experience of the war carried over into tales and stories on war themes. The collections Südamete proov ('Trial of Hearts', 1946), Viisteist sammu ('Fifteen Steps', 1947) and Võitlus kestab ('The Struggle Continues', 1950), depict military action from a Soviet ideological perspective. Heroic Soviet fighters and the inhuman 'fascist' enemy are contrasted in black and white. The motif of tempering in battle and effort runs through the stories.
The stories from the nineteen-fifties deal with the lives of workers, social problems and the ideological struggle in the Republic of Estonia, like in the collection Traataed ('The Wire Fence', 1954) and Inimesed vaekausil ('People in the Balance', 1959), which includes Ühe armastuse lugu ('A Love Story'), which received first prize in the Looming short story competition in 1954.
A. K. (Translated by C. M.)
Books in Estonian
Hall maja. Tartu: Loodus, 1930, 223 lk. [2. trükk: 1973.]
Südamete proov. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1946, 288 lk.
Viisteist sammu. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1947, 280 lk.
Paljassaare tipul. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1949, 92 lk. [Valikkogu.]
Võitlus kestab. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1950, 303 lk.
Üle mägede. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1953, 350 lk. [Valikkogu. 2. trükk: 1955.]
Traataed. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1954, 204 lk.
Inimesed vaekausil. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1959, 320 lk.
Rindejutud. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1962, 348 lk. [Valikkogu.]
Härraspäev. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1966, 388 lk.
Terasvaier. Koostanud V. Villandi. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1984, 208 lk. [Valikkogu.]
Piibujutud. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1964, 460 lk.
Tühja tünni hääl. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1965, 144 lk.
Aadi Virges, Rajamaa talu. Tartu: Loodus, 1935, 48 lk.
Aadi Virges, Tarkuse müts. Tallinn: Autorikaitse Ühing, 1937, 56 lk.
Aadi Virges, Jänesepoeg To-Too. Tartu: Loodus, 1935, 64 lk. [Järgnevad trükid: 1978, 2004.]
Kukeristi Kaalu tarkusesõnad. Koostanud Andres Jaaksoo. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1976, 72 lk.
Jutte. Koostanud Andres Jaaksoo. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1979, 72 lk.
Teosed. Hall maja. Sõjajutud. Inimesed vaekausil. Ajalehepoisid. Koostanud Väino Ilus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1973, 548 lk.