Hugo Raudsepp

Poems Hugo Raudsepp


About Hugo Raudsepp


Hugo Raudsepp (Viktor Paul Hugo Raudsepp, pseudonym Milli Mallikas, 10.  VII / 28. VI 1883 – 15. IX 1952) was one of the most popular and most performed Estonian playwrights, and a productive theatre critic.

He was born on the Vaimastvere estate in Laiuse parish, Tartu county, the son of an estate employee. He attended Raaduvere village school, Laiuse parish school and Tartu county school. He worked as a journalist on various publications, including Päevaleht as a critic and columnist and Vaba Maa as a reviewer and writer of causerie. He was active in the Estonian Socialist Revolutionary Party. He was a town councillor in Viljandi and a member of the Estonian Provincial Assembly in 1917, from 1919 to 1920 assistant secretary of the board of the Constituent Assembly. From the mid-nineteen-twenties he was a professional writer, initially at Elva, then in Tartu, from 1944 in Tallinn. In 1935, declared as the Year of the Book, he was awarded a prize for his creative work in the field of drama during the years of independence. Arrested by the NKVD in 1951, he languished in prisons in Tallinn until 1952, and thereafter was sent to a labour camp in Siberia. He died the same year in Irkutsk oblast. His burial place is unknown.

He made his debut in print with a poem in the journal Linda in 1901. In the years of his work as a journalist he published several books of prose under the pseudonym Milli Mallikas: Sidemed ja sõlmed (‘Ties and Knots’, 1919), Kirju rida (‘Varied Series’, 1920), Vested (‘Chats’, I 1921, II 1924, which also contains travelogues from Western Europe) and the psychological novel Imbi (1920). Later he added the story collections Ristteed (‘Crossroads’, 1926), Jumala veskid (‘The Mills of God’, 1936) and Kivisse raiutud (‘Carved in Stone’, 1942). In the short prose of his earlier period, the tone is sometimes set by satirical depictions of times and circumstances; often the focus of a story is some anecdotal incident. A conversational lightness is the characteristic stamp of Raudsepp’s writing. The short stories of the later period tend to go deeper; the author analyses how his characters’ development and life stories are connected with time and circumstances. At the centre of the novel Viimne eurooplane (‘The Last European’, 1941) are the experiences of the main character, a literary man, in the countryside, with digressions meditating in a satirical vein on the individualistic lives and concepts of art of the Young Estonia and Siuru literary groupings.

In the nineteen-twenties he published surveys of European and Estonian literature: Euroopa uuemast kirjandusest (‘New European Literature’, 1921), Ekspressionism (‘Expressionism’, 1922), Lääne-Euroopa sentimentalism ja haletundeline vool Eesti kirjanduses (‘Western European Sentimentalism and the Sentimentalist Wave in Estonian Literature’, 1923) and the monograph Mait Metsanurk ja tema aeg (‘Mait Metsanurk and His Time’, 1929).

Raudsepp’s plays have a firm basis in his journalistic background and his experience as a commentator. He has been described as an accurate portrayer of human types and one who emphasises the comical side of life. He is known primarily as an author of comedies. He began as a critical comic writer, casting a comic or satirical light on some contemporary theme or human type, for example in Demobiliseeritud perekonnaisa (‘The Demobilized Family Man’, 1923), Ameerika Kristus (‘The Christ of America’, 1926), Kikerpilli linnapead (‘The Mayors of Kikerpilli’, 1926). The comedy Sinimandria (1927), at the centre of which is the relationship between a creator and creativity, is to be taken as a satirical allegory of politics in the Republic of Estonia. Contemporary Estonia’s ethical and spiritual problems are also dealt with in the Biblical themes of the drama Kohtumõistja Simson (‘Simson the Judge’, 1927) and Siinai tähistel (‘The Landmarks of Sinai’, 1928).
Raudsepp’s most popular, most often performed and best-regarded play is Mikumärdi (1929), the action of which takes place in a contemporary village and portrays various human types. At the centre of it is the relationship between a landlord and a cottager, which shows similarities with the stories of Kaval-Ants and Vanapagan: on the one hand a stubborn landlord, on the other a cunning farmhand. There are some love-stories as well to enliven the story. In the comedy of character, every character has a unique way of speaking, world-view and eccentricities. Another comedy of character is Vedelvorst (‘The Layabout’, 1932), set at the end of the 19th century, which presents the philosophy of life of an extremely lazy son of a family, Kustav. This play is also distinguished by its demotic use of speech. Both Mikumärdi and Vedelvorst are among the classics of Estonian drama.

At the centre of the comedy Põrunud aru õnnistus (‘The Blessing of a Crazed Mind’, 1931) is the interplay between instincts and reason in human life. Social norms, roles and biological naturalness are in opposition. What is striking here is Raudsepp’s treatment of modern ideas previously dealt with in his essays, such as Freudianism. Political back-room games are at the centre of the comedy Salongis ja kongis (‘In the Salon and in the Cell’, 1933).

In the second half of the nineteen-thirties the characteristic sharpness of Raudsepp’s plays recedes, replaced by the nationalist idealism typical of the time, such as Lipud tormis (‘Flags in a Storm’, 1937) and Mustahamba (‘Blacktooth’, 1939). For the positive message of his plays Lipud tormis and Mees, kelle käes on trumbid (‘The Man with the Trumps in his Hand’, 1938) he won the Estonian President’s First Prize in 1938.

The allegorical village comedy Vaheliku vapustused (‘Shocks of the Place in Between’, staged 1943, published 2003), which was written during the Second World War and banned by the authorities, considers Estonia’s striving for independence between two great powers. Raudsepp continued as a playwright during the Soviet occupation, concentrating on the comical side of the phenomena of life both in the past (Tagatipu Tiisenhoosen, ‘Tiisenhoosen of Tagatipu’, 1946) and in the present (Tillereinu peremehed, ‘The Masters of Tillereinu’, 1948).

A. K. (Translated by C. M.)

Books in Estonian

Milli Mallikas, Imbi. Tallinn: Varrak, 1920, 140 lk. [2. trükk: 2013.]
Viimne eurooplane. Tartu: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1941, 252 lk. [2. trükk: 1983.]

Short stories
Milli Mallikas, Sidemed ja sõlmed. Tallinn: Maa, 1919, 171 lk.
Milli Mallikas, Kirju rida. Tallinn: Varrak, 1920, 169 lk.
Milli Mallikas, Ristteed. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1926, 118 lk.
Jumala veskid. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1936, 182 lk.
Kivisse raiutud. Tartu: Tartu Eesti Kirjastus, 1942, 110 lk.
Jumala veskid. Koostanud Lehte Tavel. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 2003, 180 lk. [Sari ‘Eesti novellivara’.]

Ameerika Kristus. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1926, 126 lk. [2. trükk: 1974.]
Kikerpilli linnapead. Tallinn: T. Mutsu, 1926, 125 lk.
Kohtumõistja Simson. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1927, 77 lk.
Sinimandria. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1927, 141 lk. [2. trükk:1983.]
Püha Miikaeli selja taga. Tallinn: T. Mutsu, 1928, 96 lk.
Siinai tähistel. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1928, 158 lk.
Mikumärdi. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1929, 151 lk. [Järgnevad trükid: 1930, 1971, 1973, 1974, 2003.]
Põrunud aru õnnistus. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1931, 131 lk. [2. trükk: 1974.]
Vedelvorst. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1932, 77 lk. [2. trükk 1974.]
Salongis ja kongis. Tartu: Eesti Kirjanikkude Liit, 1933, 102 lk.
Demobiliseeritud perekonnaisa. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1934, 96 lk.
Roosad prillid. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1934, 106 lk. [Järgnevad trükid: 1973, 1974.]
Isand Maikello sisustab oma raamatukappi. Tallinn: Autorikaitse Ühing, 1934, 31 lk.
Lipud tormis. Tartu: Eesti Kirjanikkude Liit, 1937, 102 lk.
Mees, kelle käes on trumbid. Tartu: Eesti Kirjanikkude Liit, 1938, 83 lk.
Roheline Tarabella. Tallinn: Autorikaitse Ühing, 1938, 48 lk.
Mustahamba. Tallinn: Autorikaitse Ühing, 1939, 156 lk.
Ants Andersoni unenägu. Tallinn: T. Mutsu, 193?, 42 lk.
Kompromiss. Tallinn: Autorikaitse Ühing, 1940, 135 lk.
Rotid. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1946, 96 lk.
Tagatipu Tiisenhoosen. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1946, 84 lk.
Tillereinu peremehed. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1948, 88 lk. [2. trükk: 1974.]
Küpsuseksam. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1949, 46 lk.
Lasteaed. Tallinn: Ajalehtede-Ajakirjade Kirjastus, 1949, 15 lk.
Valitud näidendid. Koostanud ja kommenteerinud Ants Järv. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1974, 448 lk. [Sisu: ‘Ameerika Kristus’, ‘Mikumärdi’, ‘Põrunud aru õnnistus’, ‘Vedelvorst’, ‘Roosad prillid’, ‘Tillereinu peremehed’.]
Vaheliku vapustused. Tallinn: Perioodika (Loomingu Raamatukogu), 2003, 78 lk.

Minu esimesed kodud. 1. köide. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1947, 244 lk. [2. trükk: 2011.]

Euroopa uuemast kirjandusest. Tallinn: Rahvaülikool, 1921, 66 lk.
Milli Mallikas, Vested I. Tallinn: Varrak, 1921, 127 lk.
Ekspressionism: uue kunsti teooriast ja praktikast. Tallinn: Rahvaülikool, 1922, 60 lk.
Lääne-Euroopa sentimentalism ja haletundeline vool Eesti kirjanduses. Tallinn: A. Org, 1923, 171 lk.
Milli Mallikas, Vested II. Tallinn: Varrak, 1924, 208 lk.
Mait Metsanurk ja tema aeg. Ühe vaimsuse kroonika kaasaegse sulest. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1929, 472 lk. [2. trükk: 2013.]
Nüüd ma tahan mõõka tõsta. Koostanud Hando Runnel. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2012, 487 lk. [Sari ‘Eesti mõttelugu’.]

About Hugo Raudsepp
Hugo Raudsepa kannatustee. Saatesõna Vello Pekomäe. Stockholm: EMP, 1973, 248 lk. [Sisu: Viiu Raudsepp-Tulk, ‘Minu isa Hugo Raudsepa hukkumine Siberis’, Hugo Raudsepp, ‘Uuendatud “Mikumärdist”‘, Hugo Raudsepp, ‘Mikumärdi. Komöödia viies vaatuses’, Hugo Raudsepp, ‘Roosad prillid. Komöödia kolmes vaatuses.’]
Hugo Raudsepp. Bibliograafia. Koostaja Tiina Ritson, eessõna: Lehte Tavel. Tallinn: Eesti Rahvusraamatukogu, 2009, 306 lk.