Cities Within a Second City: The Case of Literary Tartu

  • Mart VelskerEmail author
  • Ene-Reet Soovik


Tartu, the second city of Estonia after the capital city Tallinn, has at times been the countryʼs main centre of literary activity. This literary-historical significance has contributed to the formation of a canonized literary image of the city. However, alternative literary (re)constructions of Tartu, particularly prominent in contemporary literature, exist side by side with the traditional image: the familiar landmarks can be seen from a defamiliarizing perspective; the city’s centres of significance may be transferred into other, peripheral locations, and even a radical reattribution of the meanings in the city space may be attempted. In particular, the chapter observes the emergence of less traditional versions of literary Tartu, often connected with urban nature, in the works of the contemporary Estonian poet Jaan Kaplinski.


Estonian literature City text Concentric and eccentric cities Urbanature Jaan Kaplinski 



This research was supported by the project IUT2-44?

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cultural Research and ArtsUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia
  2. 2.Department of English StudiesUniversity of TartuTartuEstonia

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