Iukhan Smuul

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Smuul, Iukhan


(Juhan Smuul; before 1954, Juhan Schmu-ul). Born Feb. 18, 1922, in the village of Koguva, on the island of Muhu; died Apr. 13, 1971, in Tallinn. Soviet Estonian writer. Writer of the Estonian SSR (1965). Member of the CPSU from 1951.

Smuul published his first poems in the early 1940’s. His first collection of poems was Grim Years of Youth (1946). In the poetry collections A Team of Boys From Järvesuu (1948) and So That the Apple Trees Might Blossom (1951) he depicted the young generation in constructive socialist work. He wrote the collection Verses and Narrative Poems (Russian translation, 1951; State Prize of the USSR, 1952) and the narrative poem I Am a Komsomol Member (1953; Russian translation, 1956), which deals with the Great Patriotic War (1941-45). Smuul’s other works include the series of sketches Letters from the Village of Sõgedate (1955; Russian translation, 1957) and the grotesquely humorous novella The Surprising Adventures of the Muhu Islanders at the Jubilee Song Festival in Tallinn (1957; Russian translation, 1959). Smuul’s diary of his journey to the antarctic, The Ice Book (1958; Russian translation, 1959; Lenin Prize, 1961), enjoyed great popularity. Treating similar themes, he wrote The Sea of Japan: December (1963; Russian translation, 1964).

Smuul affirmed the goodness of genuine human values in his plays The Atlantic (staged 1956; published 1957), Lea (1959; Russian translation, 1960), and Jõnn of the Island of Kihnu— The Wild Captain (1964; Russian translation, 1965). The plays The Colonel’s Widow, or Doctors Don’t Know Anything (1965; staged 1966; Russian translation, 1966)and Until the Foxes Come (also known as The Life of Penguins, 1969) both treat contemporary ideological, political, and ethical issues in a grotesque allegorical manner. There are artistic links between these plays and Smuul’s satirical Monologues (separate edition, 1968; Russian translation, 1969).

Smuul was chairman of the administrative board of the Writers’ Union of the Estonian SSR from 1953 to 1971 and secretary of the administrative board of the Writers’ Union of the USSR from 1954 to 1971. He was a deputy to the fifth and sixth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Smuul was awarded the Order of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals. In 1971 an annual literary prize of the Estonian SSR was established in honor of Smuul and a memorial museum was opened in his homeland.


Mere ja taeva vahel. Tallinn, 1959.
Hea meremeeste hoidja. Tallinn, 1972.
Valus valgus. Tallinn, 1972.
In Russian translation:
Morskiepesni. Moscow, 1963.
P’esy. [Afterword by A. Turkov.] Moscow, 1974.


Surovtsev, Iu. Iukhan Smuul. Moscow, 1964.
Ocherk istorii estonskoi sovetskoi literatury. Moscow, 1971.

E. NIRK [23–1869–]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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