Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kreutzwald, Friedrich Reinhold


Born Dec. 14 (26), 1803, in Jõepere, present-day Rakvere Raion; died Aug. 13 (25), 1882, in Tartu. Estonian writer, educator, and student of folklore. Founder of the Estonian national literature. Son of a serf; his family was freed in 1815. Graduated from the department of medicine of Tartu University in 1833 and practiced medicine in the city of Võru for 44 years.

In the 1830’s Kreutzwald began to publish journalistic and folklore-ethnological articles in German. In 1840 he began to publish his works in his native language. As an author of satirical works, he spoke out against religious obscurantism and condemned the social and national oppression of the Estonians by the Baltic barons. The peak of his creative work is represented in his compilation (continuing the work of F. R. Faehlmann) of the collection of the Estonian epic poem Kalevipoeg (published 1857–61). His collection Old Estonian Folk Tales (1866) was also an important work. Kreutzwald’s activity in literary enlightenment prepared the way for an upsurge in Estonian literature and culture that began in the 1860’s. A Kreutzwald memorial museum has been founded in the city of Voru.


Teosed, vols. 1–5. Tallinn, 1953.
Fr. R. Kreutzwald kirjavahetus, vols. 2–5. Tallinn, 1953–62.
Kalevipoeg. Reval, 1900.
Kalevipoeg, vols. 1–2. Tallinn, 1961–63.
In Russian translation:
Kalevipoeg. Tallinn, 1961.


Sygel’, E. “F. R. Kreitsval’d.” In the collection Ob estonskoi literature. Tallinn, 1956.
Ocherk istorii estonskoi sovetskoi titeratury. Moscow, 1971. Pages 19–27.
Nirk, E. Fr. R. Kreutzwald. Tallinn, 1961.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He had little to offer to the growing literature of popular enlightenment besides Reineke Fuchs, the first of his texts to find its way into the Estonian language by Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald. In the work of Lydia Koidula (1843-1886), Estonia's "Poet of the Dawn", translations and borrowings from German literature have an important place, but translations of Goethe's poetry are missing altogether, although she did mention him in her correspondence.
Thus, one of the greatest Estonians of all time, Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803-1882), the son of serfs, spent forty years of his life as a medical doctor, curing simple village people in a tiny provincial Southern-Estonian town.