Iaan Kross

Kross, Iaan


(in Estonian, Jaan Kross). Born Feb. 19, 1920, in Tallinn. Soviet Estonian writer. Honored Writer of the Estonian SSR (1971). Born into the family of a worker.

In 1945, Kross graduated from the law department at the University of Tartu. His works were first published in 1938. His collections of poetry include The Stone Violins (1964), Songs on the Forecastle (1966), Rain Creates Marvelous Things (1969), and The Stream and the Trident (1971; J. Smuul Literary Prize, 1971). Kross’ lyric poetry influenced the development of Soviet Estonian poetry. His lyric hero is our contemporary, concerned with great social problems and the fate of humanity.

In the early 1970’s, Kross turned to historical prose. His prose works include the novel The Three Plagues (parts 1–2, 1970–72; J. Smuul Literary Prize, 1973) and the short stories Four Monologues on St. Gregory (1970) and The Hour of the Swiveling Chair (1971). His prose testifies to his ability as a writer to create total characters against a complex political and social background.

Kross has translated works by H. Heine, B. Brecht, J. R. Becher, F. von Schiller, A. S. Griboedov, and other authors into Estonian. Since 1971 he has served as the secretary of the administrative board of the Writers’ Union of the Estonian SSR.


Kolme katku vahel, vol. 1 Tallinn, 1970.
Klio silma all Tallinn, 1972.
In Russian translation:
Zarubki na skalakh. Moscow, 1962.


Ocherk istorii estonskoi sovetskoi titeratury. Moscow, 1971. Pages 252–53.
Turkov, A. “Triumf ili porazhenie? ”Literaturnoe obozrenie, 1973, no. 7.
Muru, K. “J. Krossi luule maailma avastamise retkel.” Keelja Kirjandus, 1972, no. 3