Aleksis Rannit (born Alexey Dolgoshev, 14. X 1914 – 5. I 1985) was a writer and art historian.
He was born in Kallaste town to a construction engineer and a math teacher. From 1940-1944, he studied art history, esthetics, Russian literature, and library science at universities in Kaunas and Vilnius. During his studies, he worked as a conservator of the graphics collection at the National Library of Lithuania and as a translator at the Lithuanian National Drama Theater. In 1944, he fled to Germany and from 1947-1949, he studied at the University of Freiburg. In 1953, he settled in the USA where he graduated the Columbia University in New York. From 1961, he was a researcher at Yale in the Slavic and East European department. He was active in introducing Estonian culture, most prominently Estonian poetry and art. At Yale, he held a lecture series to introduce Estonian poets (term 1968/1969).
Rannit started writing poems in Russian, later in Estonian. His poetry focuses solely on esthetic topics. Rannit is inspired by the poetry of other authors, but also art and music. His poetry is intellectual, striving towards perfect form and euphony, with little room for personal feelings. His work has been recognized and admired, for example, the critic Ants Oras found it to equal the writers of the poetry group Arbujad. Conversely, his poetry has been criticized as estranging and lacking thought and emotions.
In 1973, he received the Henrik Visnapuu Literature Prize.
L. P. (Translated by A. S.)
Books in Estonian
Akna raamistuses: esimesi värsse / Aleksei Rannit. Kaunas: Sakalas, 1937. 87 lk.
Käesurve: teine kogu luuletusi. Lübeck: Korff&Neumann, 1945. 52 lk.
Suletud avarust: kolmas kogu luuletusi. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1956. 93 lk.
Kuiv hiilgus: neljas kogu luuletusi. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1963. 61 lk.
Kaljud. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1969. 57 lk.
Sõrmus: kuues kogu luuletusi. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1972. 43 lk.
Helikeeli: seitsmes värsivihk. Lund: Eesti Kirjanike Kooperatiiv, 1982. 91 lk.
Valimik luuletisi 1932–1982. New York: Eesti Teaduslik Ühing Ameerika Ühendriikides, 1985. 181 lk.
Aleksander Aspeli esteetika ja humanism: avec une traduction en français: L’humanisme et l’esthétique d Alexandre Aspel et une bibliographie sommaisre: disvours prononcé à la Societé Savante Estonienne, New York, Estonian House, 17 juin 1958. Visby: Gotlänningens Civiltr, 1959. 45 lk.