Paul Viiding (22. V 1904 – 27. VI 1962) was a writer, critic and translator.
He was born in Valga, the son of an engine-driver. From 1911 to 1912 he attended a private school in Riga, and from 1912 to 1915 the Nikolai State Gymnasium in Tallinn. From 1915 to 1918 he was educated in exile in Vitebsk and from 1918 to 1922 at Hugo Treffner’s Gymnasium in Tartu. In 1930 he graduated from the University of Tartu in mathematics. For years he worked as a secretary and poetry consultant at the Estonian Writers’ Union. From 1950 to 1956 he was expelled from the Writers’ Union, accused of bourgeois nationalism and formalism. His wife was the translator Linda Viiding, their son was Juhan Viiding, later a classic of poetry, and their daughter the radio journalist Mari Tarand.
Viiding wrote psychological prose which has an analytical, intellectual tone. The protagonists in his pre-war prose works are basically effete intellectuals. As one of the pioneers in Estonian literature he applied elements from science fiction, as in the anti-totalitarian short story Mehhanism ('The Mechanism', 1938), and his humanist tale Marsi ja Jupiteri vahel ('Between Mars and Jupiter', 1958).
As a poet he belonged to the Arbujad grouping.
Viding published novels, short stories, reviews, columns, poems and children’s stories. He translated literary classics from German and Russian into Estonian: Gogol, Schiller and others.
L. P. (Translated by C. M.)
Books in Estonian
Traataed: luuletusi 1932–1935. Tartu: Eesti Raamat, 1935. 60 lk.
Arbujad: valimik uusimat eesti lüürikat. Tartu: Eesti Kirjastuse Kooperatiiv, 1938. 297 lk.
Edasiminek. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1947. 46 lk.
Piinlikult hea tahe: novellid. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1936. 139 lk.
Elu aseaine: romaan. Tartu: Noor-Eesti, 1939. 257 lk.
Sild: novellid. Tallinn: Ilukirjandus ja Kunst, 1947. 143 lk.
Mõtteid rahutul hommikul: lühijutte ja novelle. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1958. 304 lk.
Valge krae: novellid. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1987. 222 lk.
Elu ja luule: valimik kirjanduskriitilisi artikleid. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1963. 288 lk.