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Reigin pappi

  • Country in which the text is set
    Estonia
  • Featured locations
    Reigi, Hiidenmaa, Hiiumaa (Dagö)
    Turun saaristo (Åbo skärgård, Archipelago of Turku)
    Tallinn (Reval)
  • Impact

    The Rector of Reigi (Reigin opettaja) is the second novel in Kallas’ trilogy of prose ballads known as Eros the Slayer (which also includes Barbara von Tisenhusen, published in 1923, and The Wolf’s Bride / Sudenmorsian), published in 1928. All these historical novels feature ambivalent women characters that confront entrenched communal norms and rules and choose to follow their own calling. They are also all punished for their deeds.

    The Rector of Reigi is a story about a love triangle set in the early seventeenth century. The narrator, the pastor Paul (Paavali) Lempelius, struggles to reconcile the demands of his Christian values and duties with his burning desire for his wife Catharina Wycken. He loses his wife to a younger man, the deacon Jonas Kempe, and ultimately to the scaffold. Catharine Wycken is beheaded in Tallinn after confessing to adultery and flight with Kempe while also refusing to acknowledge these acts as a sin.

    By using historical motives, Estonian folklore, chronicles and mythology, Kallas also shows how these themes can be used to explore modern women’s roles, the concept of a literary vocation, and indeed the concept of modernity itself. Importantly, Kallas’ work created a foundation for Estonian historical prose. (see Aino Kallas. Negotiations with Modernity. Edited by Leena Kurvet-Kãosaar & Lea Rojola. Finnish Literature Society, 2011)                                                         
                                                                                                                  Ritva Hapuli

  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
    Estonian 1928 Friedebert Tuglas
    English 1927 Alex Matson
    German 1929 Rita Öhquist
    Norwegian 2009 Liv Hatle
  • Year of first publication
    1926
  • Place of first publication
    Keuruu

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